Review: ‘Fancy Dancing’

Modest but heartfelt, "Fancy Dancing" mischievously imagines a golden age of Canadian film musicals kept alive by a happy-go-lucky cleffer.

Modest but heartfelt, “Fancy Dancing” mischievously imagines a golden age of Canadian film musicals kept alive by a happy-go-lucky cleffer. Pic will generate interest on the strength of lead perf by Jason Priestley, whose breezy dance routines gain poignancy in light of his recent racing accident. Nevertheless, tube play seems more likely than theatrical spins.

Living on a trust fund in a dilapidated hotel full of faded showbiz folks, Asa (Priestley) woos women by crooning under their windows wearing top hat and tails. He invokes the ire of ex-wife Charity (Deborah Odell) by taking son Michael (Connor Price) club hopping, with saxophonist pal Schiff (Ewen Bremner) in tow. He goes to work at ad agency run by Uncle Billy (Dave Thomas), where he tangles with underling Nat (Dave Foley) and finds love with co-worker Karen (Tanya Allen). By tackling both comedy and dance, debuting helmer Brock Simpson has set the bar ambitiously high. Results are pleasant, if mixed. Tech package is functional, with obvious care paid to simulation of vintage musical clips. As a nod to Bremner’s indecipherable Scottish burr, most of his lines are subtitled on various quadrants of the screen.

Fancy Dancing

Canada-U.K.

Production

A Norstar Filmed Entertainment, Rafford Films production. Produced by Peter Simpson, Allan Scott. Directed, written by Brock Simpson.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Marcus Elliott; editor, Nick Rotundo; music, Simpson; production designer, Jonathan Dueck; costume designer, Joanna Syrokomla. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Panorama Canada), Aug. 27, 2002. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Jason Priestley, Tanya Allen, Ewen Bremner, Dave Foley, Deborah Odell, Dave Thomas, Connor Price, Dan Chameroy.

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