The joyous appearance of an unexpected dance sequence in a film that is not otherwise dance-related is undoubtedly one of the great unsung movie pleasures, right up there with mixing sweet and salty popcorn. But until Hugh dusts off his dancing shoes once more, here are our other favourite movies that unexpectedly break out the jazz hands:
1) Love Actually (2003)
Florence Foster Jenkins isn’t the first time Hugh’s wiggled his bum for our pleasure. Who can forget him leaping around and dad dancing to The Pointer Sister’s ‘Jump’ in Christmas classic Love Actually. Not us.
Apparently Hugh didn’t want to do this scene originally either, but we think the man doth protest too much.
2) Ex Machina (2015)
Gloria Estefan (and Chandler Bing) were right: one day, the rhythm is gonna get you A particularly great example is in sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, when, out of nowhere, computer genius Nathan (Oscar Isaac) launches into a full-tilt boogie with one of his robo-friends (Sonoya Mizuno) in front of boggle-eyed programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). It's a sublime and ridiculous moment that smartly undercuts the intensity of the cat-and-mouse game played by the rest of the film.
3) Beetle Juice (1988)
In Tim Burton's fantasy comedy Beetle Juice, a dinner party held by obnoxious New York couple the Deetzes (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara) takes an unexpected turn when everyone suddenly breaks into a forced song and dance routine set to Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) after being possessed by Michael Keaton's titular “bio-exorcist”. It's a hilarious and inspired sequence that's made all the funnier by the expressions on the faces of the assorted actors. It also has a killer final move.
4) Big (1988)
Transformed into a 30 year old version of himself after a magic wish, 12 year-old Joel Baskin (Tom Hanks) impresses toy company owner Mr MacMillan (Robert Loggia) with his child-like enthusiasm when they stumble across a floor piano in New York's FAO Schwarz and perform versions of Heart and Soul and Chopsticks by dancing together on the keyboard. Twenty-eight years after the film, the floor piano is still a huge hit at FAO Schwarz, where it is now known as The Big Piano.
5) Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
“I'd like to dedicate this to my grandpa, who showed me these moves”. So says 7 year-old Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin), seconds before launching into a hilariously inappropriate burlesque routine, set to Rick James' Superfreak. With the judging panel of California's Little Miss Sunshine pageant sitting open-mouthed in horror and audience members walking out in disgust, Olive cheerfully gyrates, struts, crawls, spanks herself and rips off her trousers before the rest of her family join her on stage in a heart-warming display of solidarity. Awww.
6) The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
A fantasy sequence is a common justification for the inclusion of a dance sequence and so it proves for Judd Apatow's directorial debut. At the film's climax, an ecstatic-looking Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) has just lost his virginity to his new wife, Trish (Catherine Keener). Upon being asked, “So, how was it for you?”, Andy begins singing the opening lines to Hair's Age of Aquarius, whereupon the film cuts to Carell and various cast members (including a shirtless Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen) joyfully singing and dancing on a hillside as the credits roll. Wonderful.
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