Dancing to a Different Tune

GO reviews ‘Leading Ladies’

There’s a love scene in Leading Ladies (out now on DVD from Wolfe Video) when Toni, a waitress trained in ballroom dancing, pulls over her up-’til-then het crush Mona and does a Patrick Swayze–Jennifer Grey stroke down her side. By then it’s pretty obvious we’re watching a homosexual caricature of Dirty Dancing, complete with the peppy pop tunes.

Devoted dancer-sisters Toni and Tasi bear the bossiness of their sassy mother Shari, who enlists them ballroom dance competitions—not unlike mom Barbara Hershey in Black Swan, except Shari is crazy in a coarse Long Island–momma sort of way. But since Tasi obviously can’t formally compete coupled with her sis, Toni resigns herself to the role of training partner while flamer-bestie Cedric dons the sequins on the dance floor. Until Tasi gets knocked up.

About six dance montages later (they make up about 70 percent of the 102-minute movie), Toni is snogging with Mona, Shari is tweaking over Toni’s coming out, and we head into a dance-training montage that takes me back to “Hungry Eyes” circa 1987. This sets off a newly butched-out Toni and doe-eyed Mona as partners in the next competition…only to be turned away for being same-sex. Alas, in the nick of time, Tasi goes into labor. Wow, that was lucky—or else something deep could’ve gone down.

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