Is a Dirty Dancing remake a 'terrible mistake'?

Kenny Ortega will direct a new version of the iconic '80s film, but it remains to be seen if anyone can truly fill Patrick Swayze's dancing shoes

"Dirty Dancing," the 1987 film starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, is getting a second life with an upcoming remake from director Kenny Ortega.
(Image credit: CinemaPhoto/Corbis)

Baby's getting put in a corner… again. Dirty Dancing, the hit 1987 film that launched Patrick Swayze into superstardom and left us with one of the most successful movie soundtracks of all time, is getting a remake. The original Dirty Dancing starred Jennifer Grey as a privileged teen swept off her feet by a dance instructor (Swayze) at a Catskills resort in the 1960s. Kenny Ortega, who choreographed the iconic dances in the film, will direct the remake. Could audiences possibly have the "time of their lives" twice?

This is a "terrible mistake": Not only is it nearly impossible to think of a classic movie remake that was better than the original, says Sarah Crompton at Britain's Telegraph, but Dirty Dancing was successful for reasons that simply can't be replicated. "There was absolutely nothing riding on it." It had a low budget, no stars, and was being made by a fledgling studio. That the movie ended up being so profitable and charming — and boasting "magic" chemistry between Grey and Swayze — was a happy accident. Good luck re-creating that.

"Dirty Dancing remake is a big mistake"

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If anyone can succeed, it's Ortega: "I can't think of another director more qualified to make this," says Drew McWeeny at HitFix. The remake's director is shouldering the pressure of a "full-blown holy crap phenomenon," and that's something that Ortega, who was so pivotal to the first movie, won't take lightly. He is emotionally connected to Dirty Dancing, and responsible for the film's most memorable moments. If there was ever a director-remake pairing that would work, this is it.

"Kenny Ortega moves from choreographer to director on Dirty Dancing remake"

But no one can fill Swayze's shoes: "If there was ever a role someone was born to play," says Kerri-Ann Roper at MSN, that role was Johnny Castle for Patrick Swayze. From his "brooding stare" to the "sheer romance" of his incomparable dancing, Swayze "oozed with charisma." Especially now, after Swayze's tragic death, it seems harder to imagine anyone else tackling the iconic role.

"Dirty Dancing remake? No thanks."

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