Dancing At The Blue Iguana

Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly, Sandra Oh, Sheila Kelley, Charlotte Ayanna
Director: Michael Radford

On the surface DANCING AT THE BLUE IGUANA could be summed up as a film about exotic dancers stripping at a lap dancing club in southern California’s San Fernando Valley. But if that is all this movie is about then it would be pretty boring at just over two hours running time and it really didn’t seem boring at all.

More specifically it’s about the daily lives of five of the club’s dancers over the period of a week. Each dancer has their own background story with their life outside the club and they are all totally different reflecting each of the dancers individual personalities.

As well as following the five girls lives the film also touches on the lives of the club’s other employees and how some of the customers ‘interact’ with the girls both in and out of the club including a Russian hitman staying at the hotel next door who becomes infatuated with one of the dancers.

While all of the five girls parts are interesting and well acted Jennifer Tilly’s character stood out as probably the most entertaining as she had the most extreme personality. Also worth mentioning, as I suspect it will be generally overlooked, was Kristin Bauer’s scene of a visiting porn star who commands a packed club’s attention as she walks onto the stage and takes her top off.

What’s wrong with DANCING AT THE BLUE IGUANA is that while it shows many stereotypical roles it gives the impression of assuming every dancer is unhappy with what they do. Perhaps this is because of the type of club portrayed, as it certainly wasn’t one of high-class establishments.

Although none of the actresses stripped beyond topless they all gave believable performances to the degree that when leaving the theatre you almost feel like you’ve just be at a real live strip joint. DANCING AT THE BLUE IGUANA is a little like a soap opera set against the background of a strip bar. It draws you in grabbing your attention and is even more impressive when you take into account that the various parts were built up by the actresses and actors themselves in an improvisation workshop.

A film worth watching and all the more interesting when you take into consideration the method in which it was made.

3 out of 6 stars

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