Dating after your thirties has become the nightmare of countless people around the world. It seems like finding your significant other has become harder and harder with each passing day, and even getting into the dating scene can be extremely stressful. However, romantic comedies keep proposing realities where you might just meet the love of your life through some universal conspiracy as two people are united by a series of casualties. Ask Me To Dance, a new romantic comedy does just that but tries to balance things out with a dose of reality.
Ask Me To Dance is a film written and directed by Tom Malloy, and tells the story of two characters, Jill and Jack. Jill and Jack work for the same company. They love to dance, and they are also single. They are trying to find their soulmate by trying to date as many people as possible, and the results have not been quite as amazing as they hoped. Everybody else around them is in a relationship, and one of their best friends is even getting married. Things are desperate. So, when an old crazy lady gives them a prophecy that they will meet the love of their lives in five days, the two of them buy it completely.
What follows that setup is a series of sequences where we see both Jack and Jill trying to date and balance their work life at the same time. It isn’t easy. The movie does this thing where every date these two have is just a complete nightmare. As we start the film, we know that these two will meet at some point and that they will find out that they are supposed to be each other’s soulmates. However, to lean on that idea, the film makes every other character they are dating quite unlikeable.
For example, Jill only dates jerks. These guys have so much confidence in themselves without having anything to support it that they come off as delusional. They are also quite rude. Meanwhile, Jack ends up dating crazy women with strange fetishes or girls that are half his age, which makes him feel like an ancient relic. Yes, things like these happen all the time, and it is understandable to think that by doing this they are enforcing that Jack and Jill are supposed to be with each other and not with anyone else. However, it makes each of the scenes quite unrealistic when everyone is so awful.
The strangest thing about Ask Me To Dance is its structure. This makes the movie feel different from many other movies in the genre, but this change really feels like it undercuts the movie instead of making it better. You see, the movie really wants these two characters to get along with each other and recognize that they are meant to be, but the movie itself takes a lot of time to do this. The characters spend most of their time separated, and they only meet each other in the last section of the movie.
We are supposed to root for these two characters’ relationship. We are supposed to want these two to get together and finally be happy, but there is nothing to root for because they basically share only two scenes together in the entire film. This is a very strange decision. The character basically ends up meeting the entire cast before meeting each other, and when they do, the movie ends. We get nothing from them but a couple of very shallow indications that they are what they were always expecting from each other.
Maybe, the movie is not trying to be realistic. That is fine, but the main issue remains, we are not able to invest each other in the success of these two hooking up because the relationship doesn’t exist until the last stretch of the film. The most unsatisfying thing is that when the characters finally meet, there isn’t really the chemistry and the sparks we were hoping for. They look cool, but the character of Jill actually ended up having a lot more chemistry in a scene with another character, so much so that for a moment I thought the movie was going in that direction.
Nevertheless, the movie does have great comedic beats, and some supporting characters, the good ones, are quite funny. There are a lot of situations that will make you chuckle and even have a good laugh. It is just a shame that the romantic section of the movie isn’t as strong as the comedy.
Visually, the movie feels very standard. There isn’t anything fantastic going on with the visuals, and the framing and staging of some shots feel very plain. Everything is functional though and the movie flows at a nice pace. The only thing that really makes the movie feel slow is that the story is really holding up the final encounter that we have been expecting since the beginning. Ask Me To Dance might not be the best romantic comedy out there, but it is a great way to spend a lazy Sunday if you are in the mood for the genre.