×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Razzle Dazzle: A Journey Into Dance

A rare example of a mockumentary geared for family viewing, Aussie laffer "Razzle Dazzle: A Journey Into Dance" runs the world of children's dance competitions through the ringer and comes up with amusing results.

With:
With: Kerry Armstrong, Ben Miller, Shayni Notelovitz, Denise Roberts, Tara Morice, Nadine Garner, Clancy Ryan, Jane Hall, Toni Lamond, Barry Crocker.

A rare example of a mockumentary geared for family viewing, Aussie laffer “Razzle Dazzle: A Journey Into Dance” runs the world of children’s dance competitions through the ringer and comes up with amusing results. Balancing comic observation with genuine affection for its stage moms, precocious kids and eccentric dance instructors, energetically performed satire is suitable for ‘tweens and teens who don’t insist on loud, dumb comedy. Though lacking the sheer panache for bust-out biz, pic could land playdates in select offshore territories and score widely on tube and ancillary.

After its Berlin world preem in the renamed youth section, Generation, pic steps into the Aussie spotlight March 15.

Following the mockumentary gospel according to Christopher Guest, but played in a lower timbre, sophomore effort by helmer Darren Ashton (“Thunderstruck”) is set during the lead-up to the Sanosafe Troupe Spectacular.

Prestigious prize is most eagerly sought by perennial bridesmaid, Mr. Jonathan (British thesp Ben Miller). First seen marching his Jazzketeers through paces resembling a Theater of Cruelty workshop (“Imagine your brain is spewing out your eyes”), Mr. Jonathan’s mission is to change the world through choreography, on themes like child labor.

His opposite is Miss Elizabeth (Jane Hall), a tightly-wound traditionalist who admits to “telling parents their children are fat, lazy and untalented.”

Pushiest stage mom is Justine (Kerry Armstrong), who regards Mr. Jonathan as a visionary and whose media-savvy daughter, Tenille (Shayni Notelovitz), is star Jazzketeer. That is, until happy-go-lucky new girl Grace (Clancy Ryan) arrives.

Mixing verite-style performance footage with deadpan interviews, pic pokes fun at adults living far too vicariously through kids. Free of outright caricature, pic is well served by its cast — from Armstrong’s ambitious but quietly desperate mom to Miller’s self-deluded but lonely crusader.

Pick of the more broadly-drawn backstage oddballs are Tara Morice as Mr. Jonathan’s stony-faced seamstress Marianne, and Denise Roberts as his frumpy assistant Barbara. Notelovitz and Ryan are delightful leaders of a gaggle of ‘tweeners, clearly enjoying every moment as they work up a glitzy act based on the oppression of Afghan women.

Despite a few flat stretches and some labored direction, events flow enjoyably to the grand finale. Pristine, color-saturated HD-to-35mm lensing by Garry Phillips captures the exhilaration of putting on a show. Set to a soundtrack of kitschy ’70s and ’80s hits, rest of polished tech package ramps up to the max what’s on display at real dance competitions.

Popular on Variety

Razzle Dazzle: A Journey Into Dance

Australia

Production: A Palace Films release of a Film Finance Corp. Australia presentation, in association with New South Wales Film & Television Office, of a Wild Eddie production. (International sales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris.) Produced by Andrena Finlay, Jodi Matterson. Executive producer, Al Clark. Co-executive producer, Simon Bosanquet. Directed by Darren Ashton. Screenplay, Carolyn Wilson, Robin Ince.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Garry Phillips; editors, Julie-Anne Deruvo, Philip Horn; music, Roger Mason; production designer, Karen Harborow; art director, Tony Campbell; costume designer, Ariane Weiss; sound (Dolby Digital), Mark Cornish; choreographer, John O'Connell; assistant director, Karan Monkhouse; casting, Nick Harmon (Australia), Lucy Bevan (U.K.). Reviewed at Hoyts Theatrette, Sydney, Dec. 19, 2006. (In Berlin Film Festival -- Generation Kplus.) Running time: 91 MIN.

With: With: Kerry Armstrong, Ben Miller, Shayni Notelovitz, Denise Roberts, Tara Morice, Nadine Garner, Clancy Ryan, Jane Hall, Toni Lamond, Barry Crocker.

More Film

  • Noele trailer Anna Kendrick

    Disney Unveils 'Noelle' Trailer Starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader

    Among the many announcements at the D23 Expo, Disney debuted the first look at holiday feature “Noelle,” which is set to premiere exclusively on Disney Plus this fall. “It isn’t Christmas without Santa’s Sister,” Walt Disney Studios said of the film on Twitter. Starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, the Christmas flick tells the story [...]

  • A Hidden Life Movie Austria

    Film News Roundup: Austin Festival Selects Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    In today’s film news roundup, the Austin Film Festival selects a Terrence Malick title, “A Day Without a Mexican” gets a sequel and DCR Finance signs a first-look deal. FESTIVAL SCREENING The Austin Film Festival will screen Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” which won the Francois Chalais and Ecumenical Jury awards at the Cannes Film [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Moved Back to 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved the release date of Blake Lively’s “The Rhythm Section” back two months from Nov. 22 to Jan. 31, 2020, the weekend of Super Bowl LIV. The spy tale, adapted from Mark Burnell’s novels surrounding character Stephanie Patrick, is produced by James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson through their [...]

  • The Mandalorian

    'The Mandalorian': Watch the First Trailer for 'Star Wars' Series

    The gunslinging lone warrior — the Mandalorian, as they call him — calls the far reaches of the “Star Wars” galaxy home. Disney dropped the first trailer for the spinoff series during its biennial D23 convention on Friday, finally giving fans a closer look at the franchise’s newest character. “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau, who [...]

  • Lady and the Tramp trailer

    'Lady and the Tramp': Disney's Live-Action Remake Gets First Trailer (Watch)

    Ready your dog-friendly bowl of spaghetti, Disney has debuted the first trailer for its live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux. The teaser was released during Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim at the Disney + presentation. In addition to Thompson and Theroux, who play the Lady and Tramp, respectively, [...]

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    'Angel Has Fallen' to Dominate Modest Box Office With $20 Million Weekend

    Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are leading the way at the North American box office with “Angel Has Fallen” on its way to about $20 million, early estimates showed Friday. Should forecasts hold, “Angel Has Fallen” will take in about double the next title, Universal’s second weekend of raunchy comedy “Good Boys” with about $10 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content