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February 07, 2005 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-07

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 7, 2005

ARTS

Oh it's fun watching rich people be naughty!

Unfunny comedy a
'Date' to be missed

By Amanda Andrade
Daily Arts Writer

Credit the magic of the Valentine's
Day spirit, or maybe the lack of a suit-
able market-exploiting alternative, but

it seems a true
miracle that "The
Wedding Date" has
ever seen the inside
of a multiplex. This
straight-to-TV fare
is romantic com-
edy stripped bare
and constructed

The Wedding
Date
At the Showcase
and Quality 16
Universal

by a director who makes movies as her
male escort hero makes love: with profit-
minded indifference.
That's not to say "Date" won't find
its fans among those who love roman-
tic comedies. All the elements are
here: single gal - good-looking, suc-
cessful and neurotic - meets arrogant
stud. In this case, Kat (Debra Messing,
TV's "Will & Grace") hires hooker,
Nick (Dermot Mulroney, "My Best
Friend's Wedding") to be her date for
sister Amy's wedding. Next comes the
highly contrived crisis that pulls them
apart, the inspirational pep talk where
she realizes he's the love of her life
and finally the madcap dash to tell him
before he leaves forever.
That the film is a huge lumbering cli-
ch6 would be forgivable, given the genre,
if not for the laziness with which Clare
Kilner ("How to Deal") directs. Every
plot twist necessary to advance the story
relies on a cooperative and uncritical

audience rather than anything on screen.
Nick flips from consummate profes-
sional to shameless romantic with the
resistancesofha light switch and with no
discernible motivation beyond the next
act requiring it.
The movie is also mired in an inex-
plicable assault of cheesy pop music.
Maybe the onslaught is utilized to fill
time, or possibly to set the tone or per-
haps someone was simply under the
woeful impression it sounded great. The
logic isn't really clear, but the effect is
indisputably annoying. Also irritating
are the running attempts to inject the film
with meaning - "every woman has the
exact love life she wants," etc ... - the
attempts ring ludicrously irrelevant and
add a tinge of pretentiousness to a movie
that would have survived much better as
unabashed fluff.
Still, some of the performances are
noteworthy. Messing gives a highly cred-
ible leading lady turn, all the more aston-
ishing considering her superficial weekly
gig as a grating sitcom stereotype.
Supporting work from the dependable
Jack Davenport (BBC's "Coupling") as
Amy's fiancee is unsurprisingly top
notch. Unfortunately, it's Mulroney who
has to carry the romantic weight, and
he fails miserably. It's hard to imagine a
blander actor in the role, and his perfor-
mance is remarkable only in its dispas-
sionate indifference.
Cinematically, "The Wedding Date"
simply has very few redeeming quali-
ties. It's a generic and uninspired little
blip on the romantic comedy radar - a
forgettable cliche that fails to bring a
single new idea to the genre.

JAZZIN' JUNE
COLLABORATIVE DANCE PERFORMANCE HEATS UP POWER CENTER

By Lynn Hasselbarth
Daily Arts Writer
The School of Music's "Jazzin,' " a collaborative
music and dance performance featuring the Univer-
sity Dance Company and Jazz Ensemble, electrified
audiences this weekend at the Power Center. The event
transported audiences from a smoky jazz bar to a swing
dance club and even the banana _
plantations of Latin America ,
with works by the Department of JaZZin
Dance faculty. UM School of
Syncopated rhythms and Music/ University
improvisation typically mark Dance Co./ UM
jazz music, yet this performance Jazz Ensemble
traversed a wide variety of At the Power Center
moods and social experiences.
The evening's first piece pre-
sented a more classic jazz image with an impressive
tap solo by Music freshman Jarel Waters. Dressed in a
relaxed, collared shirt and jeans, Waters danced up and
over a prop staircase, leaving the audience on edge as
he slid down the steps without skipping a beat. In this
self-choreographed piece, Waters reflected the grace of
Fred Astaire and the modern flair of Gregory Hines.
Gay Delanghe's "Dancin' Fats" was the first com-
pany piece, drawing on the spirit of great jazz musician

Fats Waller and the stylish "jazz babies" of the 1930s.
Dressed in black and white outfits with stripes, polka
dots, frilly tutus and feathered hats, dancers moved to
sharp and flirtatious choreography.
Both Sandra Torijano's "Bella" and Bill DeYoung's
"Dance You Monster to My Soft Song" featured more.
ominous music, threatening the notion of more tra-
ditional jazz. Torijano chose to frame the strengths
of each "bella" in her piece, highlighting a variety of
personalities - sassy, patient, playful and aggressive.
DeYoung developed a series of interweaving solos and
duets amid a furious large ensemble piece. While Tori-
jano chose romantic dresses in wine-colored crushed
velvet, DeYoung created a dangerous mood with danc-
ers dressed in sleek red and purple unitards.
Alexandra Beller's "Reasons for Moving" decon-
structed the genres presented earlier in the performance
with the evening's most disorienting and deeply layered
piece. At first glance, the dancers seemed indifferent
to each other's motions, but it was clear that the piece
presented a more nuanced form of improvisation.
Beller's piece progressed from dull pedestrian move-
ment to spastic confusion as the dancers' street clothes
intensified in color. Video collage of urban life separat-
ed each of the three parts of the piece. In each section,
the emergence of pastel colors and then vibrant shades
of blue, coral and violet suggested the act of stretching
beyond imposed limitations. Both the music and the
stage environment reflected raw life experiences with a

DJ spinning to a funky club beat alongside a screeching
electric guitar and an exposed stage revealing cinder
blocks, cables and light panels. Movement themes were
repeated: Bodies bent over, incessantly tapping the air,
standing dancers pounded their forearms against an
invisible box and a supportive community of dancers
circulated the stage together.
In contrast to Beller's raw depiction of urban life,
Bob Fosse's "Rich Man's Frug" highlighted an elit-
ist smoking lounge, the comedic height of the per-
formance. "Ponytail Girl," danced by Akemi Look,
epitomized Fosse's sexy, quirky choreography. Robin
Wilson's "Lovejoy Suite" featured another delightful
piece. Wearing twirling floral sundresses and burgun-
dy zoot suits, dancers swung to the big band music of
Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.
The evening closed with Sandra Torijan's "Suite
Latin Jazz," which depicted the passionate lives of dis-
enfranchised banana harvesters in Costa Rica. Among
several movements were a flirtatious afternoon break,
a passionate evening pas de deux and a poignant piece
with four male dancers set to the voice of Cuban poet
Jose Marti. This fully developed narrative, addressing
themes of social injustice, community and self-expres-
sion was the most emotionally satisfying work of the
evening. While much pf the performance reflected jazz
as a form of sophisticated entertainment or complex
social commentary, Trijan depicted experiences of
survival and untainted devotion.

Akemi Look as the "Ponytail Girl" in Bob Fosse's "Rich Man's Frug."

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