Story

Razzle Dazzle is a mockumentary, a parody of the documentary genre. It is set in Australia, where thousands of children participate each year in the Sanosafe Dance Troupe Spectacular. This is a highly competitive world, full of eccentric characters, pushy parents and young stars in the making.

For the last few years, the competition has been won by Miss Elizabeth’s (Jane Hall) dance school troupe. Miss Elizabeth has high expectations of her students and her teaching style is steeped in discipline, sparse praise and, at times, humiliation of her students. She has a low opinion of her competitors, particularly Jonathan Scott (Ben Miller).

Mr Jonathan, formerly a moderately successful UK-based dancer, runs his dance school Jazzketeers with different aspirations. He tends to choreograph dances with political messages, which are less acceptable to audiences and judges alike. Consequently his dance school has achieved less success in the competition. Nonetheless, Mr Jonathan has a loyal support base, including his school’s business manager Barbara (Denise Roberts), Justine (Kerry Armstrong), the pushy mother of  his student Tenille (Shayni Notelovitz), and his costume maker (Tara Morice).

Both Miss Elizabeth and Mr Jonathan enter their dance troupes in the competition and must cope with many obstacles and adversities along the way.

Themes

Competition; pushy parents; family and relationships

Violence

During a dance routine, children dressed as soldiers carrying machine guns round up and tie up a group of children dressed as Muslim women.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

Some children in this age group could be distubed by scenes that show children in a dance rehearsal pretending that they are being tortured and are dying. Although these scenes are for comic effect, the images of children in the throes of death could be upsetting to younger viewers.

From 5-8

In addition to the scenes described above, the following could disturb children in this age group:

  • Mr Jonathon asks his dance class to imagine that their pets have been electrocuted. One of the girls is shocked by the thought and starts crying.
  • Miss Elizabeth harshly targets and humiliates her students about their diet choices, their weight gain and dance technique.
  • During a dance rehearsal in which the dancers are wearing gas masks that, through a design oversight, have no breathing holes, one of the girls passes out from lack of air. She is next seen slumped on a chair recovering. Although this scene is depicted in a comic way, it could upset some children.

Over 8

There is nothing in this movie that is likely to disturb children in this age group.

Sexual references

In one scene Mr Jonathan briefly considers producing a dance to highlight the problem of venereal disease.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Tenille’s mother, Justine, is frequently seen holding a glass of wine during her interviews and also when entertaining friends. On one occasion, she is seen to be drinking Berocca. Tenille refers to her mother’s hangover as a ‘sick headache’.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

During the final competition, some Libra sponsorship is evident.

Coarse language 

Although this movie contains no coarse language, it does include some name-calling.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Razzle Dazzle is a feel-good mockumentary about the world of children’s dance competitions. Younger children might not follow the comedic tone of the movie, but cou enjoy the colourful costumes and performances by the dancing troupes. Older children and adults are likely to recognise and enjoy the eccentric characters inhabiting this dance world, with some laugh out loud moments. (Tip: be sure to stay right to the end of the credits).

The movie pokes fun at the harsh nature of competition and motivation. You might like to discuss values such as:

  • the spirit of competition and how winning isn’t everything
  • how to win and lose graciously
  • the value of determination
  • the importance of persistence in achieving your goals, but not at the cost of others.