Review Roundup - Did Critics Have 'Time Of Their Life' Watching ABC's DIRTY DANCING Reboot?
Abigail Breslin, Debra Messing, Bruce Greenwood, Nicole Scherzinger, Sarah Hyland, Tony Roberts, Katey Sagal and Billy Dee Williams, along with rising stars Colt Prattes and J. Quinton Johnson, headline the stellar cast in a new adaptation of the global pop-cultural phenomenon, DIRTY DANCING, premiering WEDNESDAY, MAY 24 (8:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. The special three-hour filmed musical event features the story from the beloved 1987 romantic drama and instant movie classic told from a fresh perspective, diving deeper into the iconic characters, showcasing their progression and tackling social themes like race, women's rights and the socio-economic division in the country at that time.
Let's see what the critics have to say:
Desiree Murphy, ET: Baby was never a dancer, but Johnny transformed her into one, and at the end of the original film, you never would have guessed that the sweet-turned-sexy, curly-headed girl had never taken a dance class. In the new movie, that's not that case and it's disappointing - it's the moment all fans were looking forward to.
Brian Lowry, CNN: Thirty years later, nobody still puts Baby in a corner. But ABC'S "Dirty Dancing" remake fits snugly in a box, adding just enough appealing wrinkles to its predecessor's familiar moves to provide, if not the time of your life, for what it is a pretty enjoyable few hours.
Malcolm Venable, TV Guide: What was once sexy, sultry and a little subversive has been sanitized and Disney-fied. Tugs at the heartstrings are cheap. Dialogue, and a musical component that has characters bursting into songs from the film, are laugh-out-loud funny -- unintentionally. But its gravest sin isn't that it's unnecessary (which it is), but that its attempt to be relevant in 2017 falls flat, making it out of step with our times.
Justin Kirkland, USA Today: Nodding to the classic, Dirty Dancing does what many of its previous remakes (including a short-lived 1988 TV series and 2004's Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights) failed to do - stays basically true to form. Though the story gets a few tweaks, awkward watermelon deliveries, mambo dance breaks and that iconic dance lift remain intact. After watching ABC's recreation, if you haven't had the time of your life, you'll be longing for a re-watch of the original.
Daniel Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter: At this point, really once I get past my praise for Breslin and Greenwood, I'm grasping at straws. I don't think the feature Dirty Dancing is some cinematic masterpiece. Thirty years after its premiere, it's a well-executed time capsule that was, itself, a well-executed time capsule. If your only reason to remake it is to further entomb it in nostalgia, without interpretation or imagination, it probably shouldn't have been done at all.
Jen Chaney, Vulture: In summary, the new Dirty Dancing is disappointing and a bit all over the place. But its biggest sin is that it's bloated and boring. If you really want to have the time of your life, fire up the 1987 version, the one that still, after all these years, knows best how to work, work, work it out, baby.
Sonia Saraiya, Variety: Hollywood's headlong passion for plucking beloved pieces of pop culture out of the past and polishing them with a slick sheen of mediocre nostalgia has claimed even this raw, unpolished gem: "Dirty Dancing" on ABC is a sappy, passionless, schlocky remake of the original, without even the iota of imagination necessary to expand upon the 1987 film. Nearly every element of the film that caught worldwide audiences' imaginations has been sanded down into an advertisement-ready imagining of the swinging '60s.
Kimberly Roots, TV Line: Breslin does an admirable job in the lead role. Her Baby is funny, cute, intelligent and engaging - which makes it even harder to believe that she'd fall for Prattes' clod of a character. Where Swayze's Johnny was rough-hewn and slightly dangerous, the TV-movie iteration of the character comes across as pretty dull anytime he's not dancing. To paraphrase some dialogue from the original film, he's mild. He's miiiiiiiild!
About ABC's DIRTY DANCING: Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle, and nothing is ever the same for anyone in the Houseman family. Modernized, updated versions of the memorable, favorite songs from the original film, including "Time of My Life," "Love Man," "Do You Love Me," "Hungry Eyes," "She's Like the Wind," teamed with well-known songs that are new to "Dirty Dancing," such as "Fever" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me," are weaved into the storytelling and performed by the talented and versatile cast.
Viewers will discover what happens to Baby and Johnny after that summer and more about the supporting characters from the original film. This fresh reimagining explores the relationship between Jake and Marjorie Houseman, Lisa's goals in life and uncovers a fully realized character in Neil, with plenty of surprises in store.
"Dirty Dancing" stars Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine") as Baby, Debra Messing ("Will & Grace") as Marjorie Houseman, Bruce Greenwood ("American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson") as Dr. Jake Houseman, Nicole Scherzinger ("Dancing with the Stars") as Penny, Colt Prattes ("Rock of Ages," Pink's music video "Try") as Johnny, Sarah Hyland ("Modern Family") as Lisa Houseman, Tony Roberts ("Annie Hall") as Max Kellerman, Trevor Einhorn ("Mad Men") as Neil, Shane Harper ("The Passion") as Robbie Gould, J. Quinton Johnson ("Everyone Wants Some") as Marco, Beau "Casper" Smart ("Perfect Match") as Billy, Katey Sagal ("Sons of Anarchy") as Vivian Pressman and Billy Dee Williams ("Star Wars") as Tito.
Photo credit: ABC/Guy D'Alema