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Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jan
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
from Film Forum, 03/04/04

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights—a cheap, dirty alternative

Fans of the 1980s flick Dirty Dancing may have been excited about the release of the sequel. Critics are encouraging them to think differently.

Despite the film's inclusion of "sweaty, sensual dancing and a 'forbidden' romance" … and a cameo by Patrick Swayze," Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says, "Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights has nothing to do with the 1987 hit that shares the first part of its name."

"[The filmmaker] saddles the clash-of-cultures love affair with a political subplot," said David DiCerto (Catholic News Service). "But rather than add depth to the characters and story, the glossy, faux weightiness only magnifies the superficiality of the script. The eroticism of the movie's choppily edited, bump-and-grind choreography imparts a misleading message that seems to equate personal fulfillment with sensual liberation."

Steven Isaac (Plugged In) says, "Nothing in Havana Nights will shock anyone already familiar with 1987's Dirty Dancing. The music—which is actually the highlight of the film—is Afro-Cuban and Latin instead of 'American Oldies,' so there are certainly differences in the style of dancing. But there's very little difference in the sexual intensity expressed. In both films, the girls' parents are too-easily won over after being deliberately deceived. Also in both films, the shredding of one's sexual inhibitions is something to aspire to and is equated with the development of maturity."

He concludes, "There is a decent message regarding how the uppity American tourists wrongly treat the Cuban natives as inferiors although it is a bit obvious and heavy handed."

Tom Snyder (Movieguide) says the movie "does not have the character and story depth of the first Dirty Dancing movie. The movie has significant moral problems. [It] expresses support for Castro's Communist Revolution without mentioning his Communism and ends just before Castro takes over Havana and starts his reign of terror and concentration camps."

Most mainstream critics refuse to dance.