The original Japanese "Shall We Dance" was a great movie. In fact, its the first movie that Warren and I saw together. Warren felt compelled to see the American remake even though we knew it would be a let down after the original.
It wasn't as bad as it could have been. It was fairly faithful to the Japanese version, with some minor changes made to accomodate the cultural differences between the US and Japan. Most of these changes were really well done, especially with the character of the Donnie Burns wannabe. There was one that wasn't well done. The older instructor is now the studio owner (which is fine), but she takes swigs of alcohol before lessons. In the Japanese version the older instructor was the most stable an well adjusted person in the film, a really strong character.
Then there's the whole JLo thing. I knew casting her in the lead female role would be terrible, and I wasn't disappointed. Even worse, her character is now supposed to be a Blackpool finalist, not just a semi-finalsit. She may have been credible as a latin dancer, but she just isn't the standard dancer type. Wrong body type, wrong way of movement, wrong attitude, wrong everything. Her standard was bad. She's not credible as a silver level finalist. By contrast, the Japanese actress who had the part looked like she could have been at that level. Of course they had the sense to use the top pro Japanese couple as body doubles for her and her partner in the dancing seens. She did a few lines on camera though, and she did them much better than JLo. The person playing the older female student was a much better standard dancer than JLo and it showed.
Its not just the dancing that made JLo wrong for the part. She didn't have the right attitude for it either. They took out the whole dance for enjoyment/dance with your partner theme and she still was terrible. They left in the "Don't dance if that's what your after," scene and it was bad. The Japanese actress was plenty demure enough to carry off the scene, the message of which is 'I dance for the sake of dance, not sex. I'm not here to be hit on." I'm doubt JLo even realized that, so its no surprise she can't convey it.
Warren liked the movie more than I did, mostly because the JLo stuff bothered him less. Usually when you're watching dancing you tend to focus on the person doing your part more, so we think that's the reason.