Jennifer Lopez: Dance Again DVD Review

  • Director?: Ted Kennedy
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2016
  • Run Time: 86 minutes

        For about the first 15 minutes of Jennifer Lopez: Dance Again, I was convinced that this was going to be one of those documentaries that made me a fan out of the subject through thoughtful consideration and compelling footage. I even found myself getting choked up over the inspirational build-up to the first performance of her first world tour, but quickly after that it became obvious that this is a glorified piece of marketing, a vanity piece made for fans of Lopez alone. I went from loving to hating this film in record time.

        Lopez may have built her career on the idea that she is relatable due to her humble beginnings, but this documentary makes it clear that the opposite is now true. In the sequence we watch her complain about fame as she casually spends money in Paris boutiques, it is clear that Lopez has long been blinded by her own ego. She seems to have tunnel vision now, able to only see her own life and problems, and this documentary puts them on display in a way that feels completely phony. There are moments of Lopez crying over her divorce with the camera looking on, and it absolutely feels like the star is putting on a performance.

I’m not saying her pain isn’t real, but that the sincerity of it was embellished for the camera’s sake. And on top of that, she has the gall to say that “there’s no pain like going through a divorce,” which seems wildly overdramatic considering the real loss people struggle with on a daily basis. People who aren’t multi-millionaires. Even more obnoxious is the same level of torturous grief that Lopez has when turning down $17 million to return as a judge on “American Idol.” Or the section where she complains about the difficulty of her life, describing the routine of getting up, exercising, getting a massage, and performing as though it were a chore. Anyone who has time and the means to get daily massages has no right to complain. Period.

        But footage of Lopez’s personal life is just a section of the documentary, with plenty of the film made up of concert footage. This includes the burlesque-style choreography of her performances, with half dressed male dancers thrusting and crotch-grabbing suggestively to each song, with choreography that feels left over from a Magic Mike film (and only a few modestly dressed women kept in the background, as to not overshadow Lopez). And there are her actual performances, which we get brief snippets of between the over-produced spectacle of her show. Every once and awhile between the stripper dancing and fireworks, Lopez does actually sing and dance.

        The worst of the film comes from the interviews of family and friends surrounding her. They are all understandably biased about her success, especially the family members feeding off of it like hungry parasites. And the colleagues and employees all add talking-head interviews that feel like the verbal equivalent of kissing the ring. There is even footage of Lopez recounting the praise that others have given her, as if this documentary needs more evidence of why everyone thinks she is the greatest. Even the moments where Lopez seems to lose her cool feels staged for the cameras, and I never got the impression we were seeing the real diva within, but I’m sure she came out when the cameras weren’t out recording for this puff piece.

        This biased piece of blatant self-promotional rubbish was originally shot to be released in 3D in theaters, but instead squeaked out a quiet release on HBO. There may be a few fans disappointed in that. Personally, I think that in any format Lopez’s personality was likely to come off as 2-dimensional. She worked very hard to control the way her image was presented, and that just made the narcissism even easier to spot. Not to mention the film is technically questionable, switching back and forth between color and black-and-white inexplicably. It may be an attempt at artistry, but it makes absolutely no sense. In fact, I have no idea who is responsible, since the only director is specified as the director of the concert, not the film. So who directed this piece of self-congratulatory garbage? Somehow I would not be surprised if it was Lopez herself.  

Entertainment Value: 3.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 2/10
Historical Significance:  3/10
Special Features: 0/10

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