I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Where I Watched It: iTunes VOD

English Audio Description?: No

Well, in case you are wondering why Naomi Aoki didn’t make my Top 10 Actress list, this should clear things up. Sony decided that they wanna dance with someone, but they’d prefer it if that person was sighted. So, sadly, the VOD release of this film doesn’t include AD, either on iTunes or Amazon.

I had heard this movie was a lot of music anyway, so i figured I’d give my perspective. I’m impressed the film “went there” as much as it did. It explores quite honestly and openly Whitney’s beginnings, her relationship with Robin, and her addiction. What is glosses over are the living, meaning that Bobby Brown avoids an Ike Turner-ish portrayal, which is a shame considering Ashton Sanders is capable of giving a strong performance. Then again, this film doesn’t have audio description, and commits almost every time to a full performance of a song. Maybe there are visual montages happening I don’t know about.

The one glaring thing here is that Clive Davis, the man who discovered Whitney… much the same way the British discovered America…. Is presented like some Bisexual Santa, the most endearing person on the face of the planet, a wise man who did try to intervene and save Whitney when apparently no one else would. If “white savior complex” manifested into a real person, it would be Davis. Poor Stanley Tucci is saddled with making him seem like a cuddly teddy bear. I think it’s supposed to be groundbreaking that Davis’s bisexuality is referenced in a film that isn’t about him, something he admitted to over ten years ago.

So, the film itself is a mixed bag, unafraid of attempting an honest portrayal of an icon, but afraid of making those still alive look bad. And without audio description, it’s impossible to grade Aoki’s performance, because unlike many other actors who tackled the challenge of singing in their biopics, Aoki avoids it entirely and most of her performance is singing. There’s so much music in this, and it’s almost 2 and a half hours long.

Would audio description have helped? Absolutely. I lost all nuance, and Everytime the music kicks in, I get nothing. That being said, some scenes work, and I do enjoy listening to Whitney sing, so i can’t say the film is totally unwatchable. I just wouldn’t recommend it.

Final Grade: C

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