Razzle Dazzle

Movies, Comedy
3 out of 5 stars
Razzle Dazzle

‘Little Miss Sunshine’ gets a mockumentary makeover in this lightly humorous take on petty dance-school rivalries and manipulated teen-stardom which delivers a formulaic triumph-of-the-underdog storyline laced with some gentle titters. Mr Jonathon (Ben Miller) is the effeminate, also-ran dance instructor who is desperate for his troupe, The Jazzketeers, to win a major competition. The thing is, instead of opting for conformist, crowd-pleasing routines (like his staunchly traditional rival, Miss Elizabeth), he feels the need to make grand, political gestures, creating concept-heavy routines with names like The Kyoto Protocol Shuffle which invariably peak with some kind of dystopian workers uprising set to thumping cod ’80s techno.

Miller’s Mr Jonathon is a tragic but endearing creation, and his semi-serious theorising on the joys of dance punctuate the action with some much-needed wry abandon. It’s a shame, then, that the film never makes an attempt to defy expectation, happily trotting down a well-trodden narrative track and wearily arriving at its predictable, heartening conclusion with something between a smile and a shrug. There’s also a slight discrepancy between the intentions of the script and the director, with the film constantly dipping into elongated dance montages populated by stick-thin teens in tight costumes while simultaneously berating the culture of public talent-contests and prepubescent star-chasers. The best moments come when the film bothers to take a risk, like a bizarre and beautiful scene half-way through in which goth costume designer Marianne (Tara Morice) breaks into a stirring and entirely superfluous rendition of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’.

By: David Jenkins

Posted:

Release details

Rated: NR
Release date: Friday June 27 2008
Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Darren Ashton
Screenwriter: Darren Ashton, Carolyn Wilson, Robin Ince
Cast: Kerry Armstrong
Ben Miller
Nadine Garner
Denise Roberts
Tara Morice
Jane Hall
Toni Lamond
Barry Crocker
Noeline Brown
Scott Irwin
Damon Gameau
Andrew McFarlane
Bernard Le Coq
Roy Billing
Susie Lindeman
Paul Mercurio
Leo Sayer