Dance of a Dream (愛君如夢)

dance of a dream

I own two copies of this movie and can’t really justify either. That’s not to say Dance of a Dream is terrible, but you’ll need to find a few good reasons for watching – and the story is not one. Poorly plotted and weak in character development, the movie relies heavily on the attraction of its three stars, who allow the film to limp from start to finish.

Andy Lau’s smooth talking ballroom dance instructor Namson and his partner Faye Wong (Gordon Lam) run a small studio that’s feeling the financial pinch. A one night gig turns into a long term opportunity though when an uptight but wealthy executive, Tina Cheung (Anita Mui), hires Namson as her personal coach. She wants to dazzle at an upcoming party and, for reasons unknown, goes with him instead of an internationally renowned teacher. At the same time, happy-go-lucky Kam (Sandra Ng) becomes smitten with the tank-over-tee clad dancer and also splurges on lessons. Rather than some much hoped for private instruction, however, Kam ends up in a class with a lovable bunch of misfits.

The midsection of this film substitutes story with showcase, and while a love triangle brews in the background, the stars do their thing and play to their strengths. Lau as Namson gets to be the center of attention, adored by all despite some pretty egregious character flaws. He’s condescending and selfish but comes off cool as a Jet. One gets the feeling Andy Lau just wanted an excuse to slink around; he certainly puts his hips to good use in this picture.

His costars also deliver the goods. Mui’s icy stares keep Tina wrapped in her own haughty bubble, content with staying an arm’s length away from Kam and her bouncy classmates. Mui is equally comfortable playing the caring confidant, in a character shift that is just assumed and never fully explained.

Ng is the effervescent heart of this movie though, infusing this Christmas release with the most feel good factor. She pulls Kam upward in many ways. Her character is goofy, neurotic, insecure but also so transparently positive that her main fault – being a giddy fangirl – seems endearing and almost virtuous. Even in her disappointments, Kam manages to find a smile.

Which is a good thing because there are a lot of question marks in this movie. The main function of the weak plot is to shuttle the characters from beginning to end, with some song and dance diversions in between. Besides Namson’s desire to dream big, little attention is paid to motivations and meaning of everyone and everything else. Supposedly he helps Tina and Kam realize themselves but it’s never clear why they are unfulfilled and what he does to improve this. Dance helps, but this isn’t really a dancer’s movie, and it is treated more as a pastime than as a passion.

A fun supporting cast that includes Ronald Cheng, Lam Tze-Chung, and Cherrie Ying do what they can, which isn’t much. Gordon Lam comes off the best, playing a cheeky second fiddle to Lau and stealing at least one scene with his spot on Jacky Cheung impression. At least there is the music, with contributions from the three leads. It’s not award winning stuff, but it’s light and pretty, like a dream.

“Dance of a Dream” (“愛君如夢”) by Andy Lau and Sandra Ng:

“Do You Still Remember Me” (“還記得我嗎”) by Andy Lau:

Released: 2001
Prod: Andy Lau 劉德華; Andrew Lau 劉偉強
Dir: Andrew Lau 劉偉強
Writer: Felix Chong 莊文強
Cast: Andy Lau 劉德華; Anita Mui 梅艷芳; Sandra Ng 吳君如; Gordon Lam 林家棟; Edison Chen 陳冠希; Ronald Cheng 鄭中基; Cherrie Ying 應采兒; Halina Tam 譚小環; Belinda Hamnett 韓君婷; Lam Tze-Chung 林子聰; Wong Yue 黃蕊
Time: 94 min
Lang: Cantonese, some English
Country: Hong Kong
Reviewed: 2014

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