Dancing At The Blue Iguana

on October 19, 2001 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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   According to the press notes, director Michael Radford ("Il Postino") chose not to work with a set script for "Dancing at the Blue Iguana," preferring to have his cast make up the story as they went along. It shows. The film's a mess, albeit a fascinating one.

   Set in a Los Angeles strip club, "Dancing at the Blue Iguana" is a loosely strung-together series of incidents revolving around the complex lives of the women who work its stages, such as Jasmine (Sandra Oh), who strips so she can avoid facing up to her abilities as a poet, and Jo (Jennifer Tilly), an angry soul who doesn't know how to handle her sudden pregnancy.

   The film's script process means that characters, such as mercurial club owner Eddie (Robert Wisdom), don't make a whole lot of sense. But some of the performances, notably Oh's and Sheila Kelley's as an emotionally deadened woman, are remarkable. They bring a powerful integrity to an often contrived film. Starring Sandra Oh, Daryl Hannah and Jennifer Tilly. Directed by Michael Radford. Written by David Linter. Produced by Etchie Stroh, Ram Bergman, Michael Radford and Dana Lustig. No distributor set. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 121 min

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