The universe contains a limited number of storylines, and I don't mind sitting through a familiar plot structure if the movie provides me with unique twists, snappy dialogue, or compelling or quirky characters. But Take the Lead offers nothing new. Any of us could extrapolate the entire plot from the movie poster alone, much less the trailer.
Take the Lead is allegedly based on the real-life experiences of dance instructor Pierre Dulaine. Dulaine worked on the choreography for this film, so he does in fact exist. However, I hope he is a more interesting, well-rounded person than this movie would lead us to believe.
In the movie, Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) witnesses a student from an urban high school committing an act of vandalism. He visits the school the next day and ends up offering his services as a dance instructor as a way of helping the underprivileged students. The principal, Augustine James (Alfre Woodard), puts him in charge of detention, on the grounds that nothing could be more punishing to the students than being subjected to ballroom dancing. Of course, it comes as a huuuuge surprise to everyone but Dulaine and the audience when the daily-detention crowd not only learns ballroom dancing, but Lessons About Life. And finally, a big contest takes place in which the street-smart minority kids compete against the snooty rich white kids.