Written by / 7/19/2011 / No comments / , , , ,

JENNIFER BEALS IN FLASHDANCE

1983 rating: ***
“What A Feeling!” became a catchtune of the eighties – the chorus to the main song by Irene Cara, and this film, while not entirely holding up like other underdog movies like ROCKY, THE KARATE KID or FOOTLOOSE, has its heart in the right place and some good side characters supporting Jennifer Beals, playing a tough girl welder who dreams of being a dancer in the spotlight, and not just the strip bar in which she moonlights: doing all those creative, high-tech numbers seen on MTV (and that the dingy dive would never be able to afford).

Lilia Skala as her best friend provides a loyal, yet one-dimensional base, and Kyle Heffner as the nightclub’s cook, who yearns to do standup comedy more than Beals wants to dance, makes for an endearing mascot. One scene involving surly, competitive dancer Stacey Pickren, opening up about aspiring dreams getting lost in the trunk of a car, is an essential standout, shining light on the film’s go-for-it theme.

Lee Ving provides a dependably vile thug; as owner of a rival strip joint, he wants Beal to himself, or else. But Michael Nouri, as the square-jawed owner of the purgatory-like factory where Beals toils during the day, makes for a weak love-interest, adding steamy romance when needed but without any real spark igniting their inevitable passion. Director Adrian Lyne juggles melodrama with stylish dance numbers good enough to allow this passably entertaining film to remain an iconic timepiece, though it’s hardly a classic.
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