Musicals confound modern moviemakers

Published: Thursday, June 21 2012 5:13 p.m. MDT

On the other hand, maybe the camera is moving so much during those moments to prevent us from noticing how bad the dancing is.

The pole dancers in the strip club scenes are supposed to be working out, I guess, but there's no excuse for the juvenile dance moves in a church as the (supposedly) prudish mayor's wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) leads a band of anti-rock 'n' rollers in a sequence set to Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," pointing their fingers as if they are firing pistols.

There was a time when dance sequences were among the most memorable moments in a musical, and "Singin' in the Rain" has many of them, from the comic "Fit as a Fiddle" to the hilarious "Make 'Em Laugh" to the balletic Broadway sequence with Cyd Charisse to the iconic solo dance of Gene Kelly on a city street in a rainstorm.

I couldn't help but think of Kelly's most famous singing performance when, in "Rock of Ages," Hough struts out of a club, walks along the boulevard and bursts into song — in the pouring rain!

By the way, Hough is a first-class dancer and choreographer. If you're going to cast someone like that in your musical, shouldn't you show off what she does best?

My advice is that if you are interested in watching a great musical on the big screen, skip "Rock of Ages" and save your movie money for a couple of weeks, then gather all your friends and pack the house for "Singin' in the Rain."

EMAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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