Does Hollywood have some sort of contract with educators stating that teachers must be 'œportrayed as unwavering saints?' said Christopher Kelly in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It sure seems that way. In Take the Lead, Antonio Banderas plays Pierre Dulaine, a New York City ballroom dance teacher who takes on a class of rowdy inner-city students. Pierre doesn't drink, do drugs, or have sex. All he wants, apparently, is to see these ducklings transformed into swans. Certainly such goody-goodies exist, but they don't make very interesting characters. Though the plot is of the overworked 'œredemption by rhumba' genre, Banderas almost makes it work, said Eleanor Ringel Gillespie in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He invests the role of gentlemanly dance teacher with 'œconsiderable charm and smooth dance moves.' The kids are somewhat less engaging, but the camera smartly stays trained on Banderas as much as possible. Yet even Banderas' star power can't overcome Dianne Houston's feeble script, said Chris Kaltenbach in the Baltimore Sun. We're supposed to believe that Dulaine spontaneously commits to the program after seeing an angry student attack a principal's car with a golf club? 'œPlease, there has to be more to the story, more to the character's motivation, than that.'
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