There’s bad, there’s so bad it’s good, there’s so bad it’s gone past good and back to bad, there’s excruciating white heat on genitals, there’s eyeball rupturing, and then there’s the Dirty Dancing remake that aired on ABC last night. Wow, just wow. The entire idea of this needless update seemed to be to hit all of the major beats of Eleanor Bergstein’s screenplay of the 1987 original... just shittier. At every turn.
Me, every time Dirty Dancing ‘17 did anything:
It was so confusing! This Dirty Dancing was bookended by scenes that took place in New York in 1975, as Baby (Abigail Breslin) attended a musical called Dirty Dancing, whose poster outside featured the movie’s decided 1987 font. So, via this new timeline they imposed on this thing, Dirty Dancing existed in the universe of Dirty Dancing, but as a ‘70s Broadway musical we don’t actually see as the movie cuts to 1963 or whatever as soon as Baby settles into her seat.
Me, in front of an obvious green screen, deciding to give this Dirty Dancing thing a whirl:
As previously discussed, the decision was made to have this Dirty Dancing function as a musical in that its cast sometimes burst out into song, but it was mostly (atrocious) covers of pop songs from the original movie, so instead of giving it the truly multi-dimensional feeling/emotional lift of a typical musical, they just seemed... overly enthusiastic about the awful decisions they were making as actors and humans.
Basically, this Dirty Dancing had the feel and counterfeit passion of a commercial for a Broadway jukebox musical.
That’s former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger as Penny, whose abortion does what Breslin and newcomer Colton Prattes (Johnny Castle) cannot muster themselves: It gives Baby and Johnny a reason to be together.
One thing that Breslin was good at is portraying someone who cannot dance very well. One thing that Breslin was not good at is portraying someone who, through dogged practice, expert advisement, and Nicole Scherzinger’s hands on her hips literally forcing them to sway, improves her dancing over the course of the few weeks at the Kellerman’s resort in the Catskills. Otherwise, Breslin reminded me of a 12-year-old play-acting Baby in her rec room in 1988 after watching the original on VHS. Prattes had all of the charisma of a stuffed Fonzie. Together, their chemistry reminded me of an interaction between a spray of Off and a spritz of a Designer Imposters perfume.
I felt like they were fucking with me sometimes???
There was no “YOU’RE WILD YOU’RE WIIIIIILD” scene, there was no Newman, there were no old thieving Jews in the form of the Schumachers. There was, though, Johnny saying to Baby onstage when he dramatically interrupted the final scene’s talent show, “I had the time of my life with you this summer.” And then he and Baby sang... “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” I guess to prove his claim. For science.
In the words of the dearly missed Mrs. Schumacher: Such junk, such junk!
Ya know, it turns out that the best place to do lifts is in the garbage.