For anyone who has managed to go through their entire adult life without having seen “Dirty Dancing”: it’s less a 1987 film about a seventeen year-old girl procreating with a lascivious Patrick Swayze, than a colossus that continues to bestride the world of cinema, distorting young boys’ and girls’ perception of romance along with it. Its drawbacks as a work of art, which are myriad, obvious and not really worth dwelling on, pale in comparison to the film’s continued profitability; if we needed further evidence of that, Deadline are reporting Lionsgate can provide it, as they have now tapped writer Maria Maggenti to pen an upcoming remake.
Maggenti directed the 2006 indie effort “Puccini for Beginners” but more importantly wrote the recent rich-kid fantasia “Monte Carlo.” With the choreographer of the original film Kenny Ortega (he of “High School Musical” and “This Is It” fame), already on-board to direct the studio have at least got their imagined demographic square in their sights — squealing teenage girls and their mothers – and are gunning for them and their wallets with an unstoppable, remorseless will unseen since Charles Bronson starred in “Death Wish 3.”
What Maggenti can bring to the table except for more outrageously fairy-tale notions about sexual intercourse and vaguely risqué dancing is anyone’s guess. There’s already been one spectacularly bungled attempt to reinvigorate the franchise — “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” – so it’s hard to see them cocking it up further than they already did in 2004. “Reboot,” of course, is a much-tarnished word and we’ve all been to enough 1980s-themed costume parties to realise the disparity between the decade’s stupidest fashion trends and the sort of unfettered free-market ideals espoused by Margaret Thatcher (“The Iron Lady” – coming soon to a cinema near you!) and Ronald Reagan that blew up in our face in 2008. But hey, going for a straight remake of the film means that a whole new generation of hopeless romantics can stick the thing on next time their loved one leaves them for another carbon-based life-form, instead of just warbling to Tammy Wynette with a tub of Phish Food under their arm.
This “Dirty Dancing” remake joins a desperate conga line of films tailor-made for Miss Lonelyheartses and their offspring, as the “Footloose” remake lands later this year, and “Bridget Jones 3” was announced a few weeks ago. Now all we need is a theatrical release date for “Showgirls 2” and we’ll all be sexy dancing with our imaginary beaus, whilst simultaneously weeping from now until Christmas.