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Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing

Directed by Emile Ardolino. Starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jack Weston, Cynthia Rhodes, Jerry Orbach. (1987, PG-13, 100 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Sept. 19, 1997

This is one of those re-releases that probably belongs in the "Who Asked for a Rerun Anyway?" file. But, still, I have to admit to feeling some dangerously warm fuzzies for this 1987 movie that's set in a Catskill resort during the summer of 1963 (the summer before all Americans lost their collective innocence). Dirty Dancing is the story of a 17-year-old Jewish girl named Baby (Grey), who loses her figurative innocence during this fateful Borscht Belt vacation with her family. She comes to the aid of one of the female dancers at the resort who's in need of an illegal abortion, and she learns intriguing new dance positions from hunky instructor Johnny (Swayze). It's a corny fairy tale about a princess who emerges from her protective isolation and, naturally, falls for a boy who spells "big trouble." But 'neath its candy-coated shell lie several solid grains of truth -- not to mention some fab choreography, a solid-gold title, and a couple of pristine examples (in Swayze and Grey) of what is meant by the term "career-making performance."

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