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Movie Review: Mad Hot Ballroom

Alternate Title: Spellbound With Rhythm

Story: Can the arts change lives? Check out this enchanting film about ballroom dancing in the NYC school system directed by Marilyn Agrelo and written by Amy Sweet.

We follow three schools (PS 150 in Tribeca, PS 115 in Washington Heights and PS 112 in Bensonhurst) as these 11 year old kids attempt to learn the tango, the rumba, the merengue, foxtrot and swing to ultimately compete in a City wide competition.

Like Spellbound we begin to root for all of the kids and watch with fascination as they develop poise, confidence and self esteem. If you like heartwarming (but not sappy) films that leave you with a sense of hope, please check out this delightful film.

Acting: This is a documentary so there is no acting category applicable although there were a couple of kids who were definite hams.

Predilection: I like documentary films and I like films shot in NYC.

Critters: One Jack Russell terrier with a walk on part.

Food: So much dancing there was no time to eat.

Blatant Product Placement: Hope

Soundtrack: Terrific blend of music. I was toe tapping throughout.

Visual Art: The kids are beautiful to behold.

Theater Audience: Enough people for a short bunny hop line. There were two previews that piqued my interest; The March of the Penguins and Rent.

Squirm Scale: When I thought about what will probably happen to some of these sweet kids as they grow up I felt my stomach churn.

Drift Factor: I did not drift for a second.

Predictability Level: I knew after ten minutes which team would win the competition but it did not hamper my enjoyment of the film at all.

Tissue Usage: I admit to some welling.

Oscar Worthy: Too much in the manner of Spellbound so probably not, but then again, this film is about hope.

Soap Box: There should be more funding for arts in the school system. Art enriches lives in ways not easily measured.

Nit Picking: No nits to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: Enjoy the big screen and support these types of films. For another great film about kids, rent Spellbound if you haven't seen it.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 8