Venice 2010: SHOWTIME; Quirky Chinese comedy that's STEP UP/STREETDANCE with Time Travel!

Just saw Showtime, a quirky Chinese comedy directed by Stanley Kwan, that screened out of competition to a restless audience. The film started with a few hundred critics (and paying customers) in the Sala Perla, but by the end - after a steady stream of walk outs over its 100 minutes - there were far less than half that number left. Basically, Showtime is an incoherent mess of a movie. The film is Step Up/Street Dance plus time travel. Confused? I was anyway. Some Shanghai students travel from 1936 to 2009 to teach some kids a lesson about something or other (hard work? the value of dance?) and then travel back again. Can they save the end of year dance? Who cares. It has the production values of an episode of Britannia High, and boasts actors of similar quality. The film only come to life during the scenes of dance, which are occasionally diverting, but overall a very poor film. In some ways it was the perfect antidote to the (excellent) Black Swan - which was also about dance and, I suppose, the same obsession with performance - in that it has lowered my expectations for the next film I see. Anything would have found it hard to follow Aronofsky's picture, but Showtime fared even worse. I have now experienced two films of polar opposite quality. Which feels like a nice start to the festival. Though I doubt Stanley Kwan would share my enthusiasm.
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A regular film and video games contributor for What Culture, Robert also writes reviews and features for The Daily Telegraph, and The Big Picture Magazine as well as his own Beames on Film blog. He also has essays and reviews in a number of upcoming books by Intellect.