Livetweeting Dirty Dancing last Wednesday made something very clear — there was a ridiculous amount of hate for it. To be fair, this usually happens with any remake; people really don’t like when anyone messes with their classics. It’s easy to take a remake and just label it as garbage… but that’s another article entirely.
I’ll just say it: I enjoyed the Dirty Dancing remake! No, it wasn’t the original. No, it wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t expecting it to be. Since the actors were also singing, the choreography made the final dance scene a bit lackluster. There were also a few cheesy lines that made me cringe (“It was a summer of -” “-love!”), but that’s pretty typical in TV movies.
My biggest doubt was the decision to cast Abigail Breslin as Baby. After two seasons of the Scream Queens acting style, I didn’t have complete faith that she wouldn’t be too awkward for this role. Not far into the movie, I realized that I actually loved her as Baby. She felt more relatable to me than Jennifer Grey’s Baby ever did. She was awkward, of course, but in the adorable and endearing kind of way that plagues the young adults of today.
Most of the characters were better rounded than in the original, which only showed the supporting characters in a one-dimensional light. Sarah Hyland made for a much more likable Lisa, who ditched Robbie at the first sign of his classic sleazebag ways. Instead, she found herself drawn toward one of the musicians, Marco, with whom she performs on their final day at Kellerman’s. Mrs. Houseman shows the loneliness that can accompany being married to a doctor for twenty years, and she considers divorce. Mr. Houseman opens up to his wife about some of his own insecurities, and they both commit to reconnecting. One character who seemed less developed was Johnny Castle, who lacked the very specific hidden vulnerability that Patrick Swayze infused into the role.
The movie begins with Baby sitting in a theater, and at the end we go back to that scene, where we find out that Baby was there to see a Broadway musical based off of a book she wrote that was based off of the summer she spent with Johnny when she was 18 years old. In a way, I have to respect this addition. So many movies have their abrupt happy endings that make you wonder, “Okay, but what happened later in life? Did they manage to make it work? Did they split up a month later?” However, isn’t there something classic and beautiful about leaving the future untold?