San Diego Film Festival 2012 — Tony Tango

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Manolo Celi

Rating: 7

Website: Tony Tango

Tony is a misunderstood Latin dance instructor for elderly students, determined to win a big dance contest to save his families dance studio!

The movie is more than a little ridiculous. Tony Tango is known for his girth, his belief in his own ability to dance and be damn sexy about it, and woe betide anyone who tries to convince him otherwise. He wanders about all day in outfits that looks like he’s ready to go on a Latin version of Dancing With the Stars at a moments notice. His mother, owner of the dance studio, simply wants to sell the whole thing to the enemy, supposedly religious zealot and rival dancer, Diego. Then there’s Helena, the former dancer whose grandmother lands in the hospital after a bout of dancing with Tony, who demands that Tony somehow pay for her grandmothers miraculous operation that’s supposed to fix everything. Tony, in despair, somehow manages to find a formerly famous and now disgraced dance instructor, Sam, who was living as a homeless person conveniently outside Tonys familys studio. Convinced the only way to fix everything is to learn the secret dance move that disgraced Sam then perform it with Helena at the big dance competition and win, Tony pours his hot salsa heart into training, with mixed and often hilariously disastrous results.

There are many moments that could have been adorably awkward and even funny, if it hadn’t been for Tonys arrogance. So what if hot Latin dancing isn’t technically in his blood, as Tony would say, strike a Madonna pose and declare it’s in his heart (and loins, complete with the gestures to prove it) and that’s all that matters. And yes, most of the dance moves were performed by the actors – so? The big move at the end, that legendary dance move that Tony and Helena trained so hard for, was CGI. Not so Latin-hot. Still, the movie gives great examples to believe in oneself, even when the odds and all likelihood really are stacked mile-high against you.

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