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Movie Review: The Company

Alternate Title: I can't dance, don't ask me (but they sure can)!

Story: Long story short -- there is no story. Director Robert Altman delivers a quasi - documentary (but it is definitely NOT a documentary) about the Joffrey Ballet company of Chicago. The dancers may hit their marks but this film sadly, falls way short of its mark. However, once I realized that nothing was going to happen I just sat back, relaxed and watched some very beautiful dance numbers performed by some incredibly honed dancers. (It made me want to get back to the gym quickly.) The story (and I use the term loosely) is by Neve Campbell (more on her below) and Barbara Turner.

We get a small peek behind the curtains at the lives of these hard working people. It is the stuff of soap operas but we never get to see the end of anyone's story and none of the characters are ever developed.

If you like dance or have a child, niece or nephew who takes dance lessons, this is the film to take them to see. If dance bores you but you want to watch nice bodies flowing across the screen - than go for it. Everyone else should skip this one.

Acting: Neve Campbell from TV's Party of Five and many teen horror flicks, apparently was associated with the Canadian Royal Ballet before she took off her ballet shoes and went to the small screen. She returns to her first love and not only wrote the screenplay, was one of the producers - but she is also the star. She really can dance but I have no idea if she can act. The jury is still out on this one. Malcolm McDowell plays the director of the Company. He mainly pontificates, dictates, has hissy fits and calls his company 'babies'. The cast is mainly made up professional dancers. The only other stand out is the love interest of Campbell, James Franco, who is a clone of James Dean (and actually played him in the TV drama).

Predilection: I respect Robert Altman.

Critters: The dancers are costumed as critters, but that doesn't count.

Food: There is a lot of food prepared, shown and tabled but I didn't see much eaten.

Visual Art: Some bad paintings of dancers and posters. The set design for the last act The Blue Snake were marvelous.

Blatant Product Placement: Sam Adams beer and of course, The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

Soundtrack: Lovely.

Opening Titles: A beautiful dance number behind the titles. I was immediately interested.

Theater Audience: Half full (or half empty) depending on your point of view. Mostly filled with a mature audience.

Squirm Scale: 2 (my achy knee hurt watching these dancers).

Predictability Level: Once I realized what I was watching it was fairly predictable.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: I sorely missed a story line.

Big Screen or Rental: Devotees of the dance should definitely hit the big screen. How about renting some of Altman's better films, such as: Gosford Park, Cookie's Fortune, The Gingerbread Man, Short Cuts, The Player, Vincent and Theo, Popeye, 3 Women, Nashville and MASH.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 5