Have you ever watched a Lifetime movie and thought, This is missing something? It’s a strange thought to have. When a movie already has parental death, an absent dad, men having affairs, financial troubles, bullying, forbidden love, teenage pregnancy and Canadian accents, what could you possibly add? I discovered the answer to that question during Holiday Spin: Any movie is better when you add dancing!
Even a Lifetime movie, which already features every dramatic plot element imaginable (and yes, Holiday Spin features all the elements I mentioned in the previous paragraph), is improved when you add dancing.
Let’s go over how each theme works its way into the movie. Blake (Garrett Clayton) is an aspiring pro-fighter whose single mom (Erika Eleniak) owns a dance studio. During a sarcastic in-car performance of “Jingle Bells,” Blake and his mom crash, and his mom dies. (Parental death, check.) In walks Blake’s estranged dad, Ruben. But wait, how is it possible for Blake’s father to be younger than Blake? Oh, never mind, that’s just Ralph Macchio, whose Benjamin Button syndrome will lead to him playing Jaden Smith‘s protégé in the next Karate Kid movie. (Absent dad — or long-lost brother? — check.)
Ruben also owns a dance studio, where he’s training Pia (Allie Bertram) and her partner/cheating boyfriend (check) Rob to compete in a holiday dance competition called Holiday Spin to win $50,000 and save the failing studio (check). When Pia and Rob break up and Rob partners with his mistress, Blake reluctantly steps in to dance with Pia, despite having given up dancing because he was bullied about it (check).
Blake and Pia’s romantic feelings for each other cause Ruben to worry there will be another Rob situation, so he strongly discourages their hook-up. Forbidden dance love. Is there any better kind? Also, check. Ruben tries to get through to Blake by telling him that he was about his age (17, check) when Blake was born, and he had to make tough decisions or something. I don’t know, I was too busy doing the math in my head and trying to figure out Ralph Macchio’s actual age to pay attention to his reasoning.
Oh, and as always, there are some melodic Canadian accents. After the studio is ransacked (obviously by Rob), Rob says, “Sorey to hear aboot yur studioo.” Lifetime movies are often filmed in Canada and feature Canadian talent, because history shows them to be the best kind of talent (and people). Ryan Gosling. Need I say more?
But we all know none of these scandalous, tragic plot points are important. What’s really important is that there’s dancing! There are Black Swan-style dilemmas in which Pia fails to have dance passion with anyone but Blake. Luckily, she doesn’t have to let Vincent Cassel grope her to solve that problem. There are also Dirty Dancing-style practice sequences in which Blake and Pia rehearse in a boxing gym and Blake swings gracefully on a hanging punching bag. There’s a West Side Story-style dance rumble in which Blake says, “C’mon, guys” to his dance pals, one of whom looks up from a compact mirror (?!), and they all form a threatening dance line and snap their fingers.
And then there’s the dance-tastic climax. At the Holiday Spin, Pia and Blake tie with Rob and his mistress Tezza, leading to — that’s right! — a dance-off!
Granted, the idea of the dance-off ends up being a lot more exciting than the actual dance-off, since it involves classy ballroom steps rather than violent running-man moves and people pulling muscles doing the worm. But I think we can all agree the world would be a better place if every Lifetime movie — and, let’s face it, every movie, period — ended with a dance-off.
I guess I should tell you that Pia and Blake win the competition, but do I really need to? This movie was different in that it had dancing, but it was still a Lifetime movie, guys.