RAZZLE DAZZLE: A JOURNEY INTO DANCE: DVD
The seriously politically correct dance school teacher Mr Jonathon (Ben Miller), is once again in fierce competition with 5-time champion Miss Elizabeth (Jane Hall) and her troupe of littlies, in the Sanosafe Troupe Spectacular. This time a documentary crew follows the preparations, which shows the determination of young dancer Tenille's (Shayni Notelovitz) mum Justine (Kerry Armstrong), who will stop at nothing to ensure her daughter is on the winning team - and in a leading role. Mr Jonathon is helped by his assistant Barbara (Denise Roberts) and wardrobe queen Marianne (Tara Morice), preparing the troupe to face the judges (Noelene Browne, Toni Lamond, Leo Sayer) on the big night.
Review by Louise Keller:
Winning at any cost is the theme of Razzle Dazzle, a quirky, feel-good comedy that shuffles high kicks, an obsessed stage mother and two dance teachers with conflicting philosophies. Mockumentary in style, the film's tone is coated with biting black humour that lends to an inward chuckle rather than a hearty laugh. Writer Director Darren Ashton (Thunderstruck) takes us into two dance studios, where we meet the teachers, the dancers, the parents and some hangers on in the lead up to the finals of a prestigious dance competition.
English actor Ben Miller plays Mr Jonathon, a caring but rather eccentric teacher with an offbeat notion of incorporating current affairs and issues into his choreography. His offsider is Tara Morice's goth costume designer Marianne, one of whose wacky ideas of using a gas mask costume, results in the child passing out. Tenille (Shayni Notelovitz) is the star pupil, through whom her pushy mother Justine (Kerry Armstrong) lives out her own unfulfilled ambitions. Squeezed into tiny mini skirts and weighed down by a mountain of long, wavy hair, Armstrong is a knock out, as the obsessed stage mum who battles anything and everyone who gets in her daughter's limelight. Competing is serious business, and Jane Hall's Miss Elizabeth (Mr Jonathon's chief competitor) is a teacher with purist, traditional views. Her students are schooled in the art of big smiles (even when you lose) and wear costumes that look like pink lollypops, bunnies and foxy ladies.
We are there for the rehearsals, the private coaching and the ups and downs of home life. There are fears and tears as The Grand Finale draws near and the pressure mounts. And then at last the anxiously awaited day arrives. The curtain rises and Barry Crocker's pony-tailed compere, Donnie Destry, meets and greets. The judges are winners, too. There's visiting celebrity Leo Sayer, tight-lipped Noelene Brown and knockout Toni Lamond, wearing a blonde wig that looks as though it came from Les Girls. Then it is time for the final routines... and a few surprises. If you've got it, flaunt it. Yes indeed. Or Razzle Dazzle 'em. This family-friendly comedy from producers Andrena Finlay and Al Clark's Wildheart Productions is a winner, a fresh and funny insight into kids' competition dancing and all that goes with it.
There's an audio commentary on the DVD, plus deleted scenes, a making of featurette and audition footage.
Published July 19, 2007; re-published May 12, 2011
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RAZZLE DAZZLE: A JOURNEY INTO DANCE: DVD (PG)
CAST: Kerry Armstrong, Jane Hall, Ben Miller, Toni Lamond, Nadine Garner, Noelene Browne, Denise Roberts, Tara Morice, Barry Crocker, Paul Mercurio, Steve LeMarquand
PRODUCER: Andrena Finlay, Jodi Matterson
DIRECTOR: Darren Ashton
SCRIPT: Robin Ince, Carolyn Wilson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Garry Phillips
EDITOR: Julie-Ann De Ruvo
MUSIC: Roger Mason
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Karen Harborow
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 22, 2007
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes, audition footage, making of featurette, audio commentary
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; re-release: Madman
DVD RELEASE: July 18, 2007; re-release May 4, 2011