A TV remake of Dirty Dancing has aired in the US – and it’s fair to say the critics did not have the time of their lives watching it.
“Somebody put this baby in a corner,” said the Hollywood Reporter’s reviewer.
Abigail Breslin and Colt Prattes play Baby Houseman and Johnny Castle, the dancing lovers played by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in the original.
According to Vulture’s Jen Chaney, they “don’t generate anything close to the Grey-Swayze sizzle factor”.
“Nobody’s got hungry eyes in this thing,” she continues – a reference to the Eric Carmen song that featured in the 1987 version.
According to Variety, the reprise is a “sappy, passionless, schlocky remake… without even the iota of imagination necessary to expand upon the 1987 film”.
Its reviewer Sonia Saraiya also pours scorn on “an ill-conceived epilogue that negates most of the power of the preceding narrative”.
“Between the bad lip-syncing, the inexplicable addition of musical numbers and the pale imitation of classic moments from the original film, it just doesn’t work,” was the verdict of IndieWire’s critic.
Those sentiments were echoed by TV Guide’s Malcolm Venable, who rued that “what was once sexy, sultry and a little subversive has been sanitised and Disney-fied.”
One cast member who receives a modicum of praise is Nicole Scherzinger, who plays the role of Johnny’s dance partner Penny.
“The Pussycat Dolls singer is no stranger to the dance floor, and it was evident whenever she appeared onscreen,” says Entertainment Tonight’s Desiree Murphy.
British audiences will be able to make up their own minds when Dirty Dancing airs on Channel 5 on 4 June.
Five other 80s remakes that didn’t live up to the original
Original: Released in 1981, this comedy about a wealthy drunk gave Dudley Moore one of his biggest successes and won John Gielgud an Oscar for his role as his disdainful manservant.
Remake: Released in 2011, this vehicle for divisive comic Russell Brand cast Dame Helen Mirren in the Gielgud role and was dismissed as “a full-on stinker” by The Independent.
Original: Released in 1980, Alan Parker’s portrait of students at New York’s High School of Performing Arts won two Oscars for its music and spawned a successful TV series.
Remake: Released in 2009, the 12-rated remake was criticised by the Hollywood Reporter for being “laughably bland and watered-down in its desire to appeal to the widest possible audience”.
Original: Released in 1984, this story of a rebellious teenager who moves to a town where dancing has been banned made Kevin Bacon a star and spawned two number one hits.
Remake: Released in 2011, Craig Brewer’s remake wasn’t universally slated but was still accused by Variety of “merely going through the motions.”
Original: Released in 1984, this vehicle for Saturday Night Live comics Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray became a global phenomenon with a smash hit theme song from Ray Parker Jr.
Remake: Released in 2016, this female-led reboot flopped at the box office despite reasonable reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes declaring: “Ghostbusters does an impressive job of standing on its own as a freewheeling, marvellously cast supernatural comedy – even if it can’t help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original.”
Original: Released in 1984, this tale of teenagers mounting a resistance against a Soviet invasion of the US tapped into contemporary fears and gave early roles to Dirty Dancing stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.
Remake: Released in 2012, this “doltish” reprise (Total Film) originally cast China as the aggressor but was digitally altered after filming to make North Korea the bad guy.