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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 8.82%
Just Average: 22.06%
Pretty Crappy: 1.47%
Sucks: 16.18%

3 reviews, 50 user ratings

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West Side Story
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by Charles Tatum

"West Side Boring"
3 stars

This overrated classic musical lifts Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" storyline, and muddles it with a cold romance and gangs that were dated even at the film's world premiere.

Riff (Russ Tamblyn) is the leader of the Jets, who are constantly having run-ins with Bernardo's (George Chakiris) Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks. Planes and fish don't mix, and things come to a head when the gangs are at a dance when Bernardo's sister Maria (Natalie Wood) meets the Jets' cofounder and Riff's best friend, Tony (Richard Beymer).

Tony is trying to clean up his act, backing away from all the street dancing, but he is immediately smitten with Maria. A jet and a shark cannot be lovers, and since no one in the film has read "Romeo and Juliet," no one knows what will happen. Eventually, the film does ape Shakespeare, partially.

The positives are what made the film a classic. The songs are excellent, using Stephen Sondheim's lyrics to carry the emotions of the characters. The dancing and ballet choreography are superb. It may seem silly to have street gangs dance-fighting, but the pure athleticism on the part of the dancers is fantastic. Rarely have dance numbers been so physical, and so grand.

On the downside, the main romance takes place waay too quickly. This is quicker than a whirlwind romance, this is a tornado wrapped in a cyclone being blown by a wind machine. The mere speed of the relationship (a day) takes any sympathy for Tony and Maria away from the viewer. Leonard Bernstein's music is good in the songs, but not as incidental background noise. He thinks he is scoring a bombastic Broadway song even in quiet moments. The pacing is a little slow, as this marked the beginning of the two and a half hour widescreen musical genre that spawned such bloated cinematic drivel as "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and "Doctor Doolittle."

"West Side Story" is not a perfect classic, and not a dud. It is squarely in the middle of the spectrum. If anything troubles the viewer, it is wondering how this film beat out "Judgement at Nuremburg" for the Best Picture Oscar.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5602&reviewer=325
originally posted: 03/01/03 00:22:52
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User Comments

2/14/12 M. West Side Story--The Classic that Never Grows Old! 5 stars
1/29/11 Linda J The is my favorite movie of all time 5 stars
8/17/10 M. I love it! 5 stars
5/31/10 User Name Shakespeare on the streets. 4 stars
5/16/09 M. The MGM adage "Unlike other classics, West Side Story grows younger" is so true! 5 stars
12/06/08 Merissa Conrow Thrilling, and a great Love Story 5 stars
6/22/08 M. West Side Story is my alltime favorite film, hands down. 5 stars
1/16/08 Ionicera if it had been only songs, it would have been a 5 4 stars
5/01/07 alfredo rubion ah....its so very nice i lke the musical play and its acy just like romeo and juliet upgrad 5 stars
1/28/07 Steph One of the GREATEST musicals ever made. Better than any movie I've ever seen. Classic. 5 stars
1/26/07 action movie fan dm is right great romeo and juliet based classic always moves me-the best of 1961 5 stars
5/18/06 Serenity Lyant The dancing waz Blah and the Plot was stupid it disgraced the Image of Shakespeare's R & J 1 stars
1/02/06 Daveman Despite its faults, the music, choreography and cinematography are second to none. 5 stars
5/25/05 Emily it's really dumb n cheesey 1 stars
3/04/05 Chris Stephens classic musical 4 stars
2/22/05 Joseph Venanzi skarks vs. jets better than red sox vs. yankees 5 stars
2/15/05 Miranda Lahr I feel pretty ohhh so prettttty! classic, thats all i have to say 5 stars
2/14/05 Carolyn Rathburn Another classic musical, very sad, very poagnant. 5 stars
2/11/05 J. Elaine Greenup Very boring 1 stars
11/13/04 Sally Lovely 5 stars
11/13/04 Amanda A True Classic! I Love this movie! Classic cast! 5 stars
10/02/04 Daveman The most well written (in terms of both music and dialogue), well directed musical ever. 5 stars
9/09/04 Rob Smythe Exceptional dancing, great music, you must accept the dance as symbolic, not gang behavior 5 stars
8/31/04 Jana Banana Pretty crappy really, boring, unrealistic stoy line. Overall piece of crap 1 stars
6/01/04 shaky shaky goddess well i thought it was ok.. well no i didn't ! it sucked@ i thought Gili was betterthanthat 1 stars
5/26/04 t i really disliked this musical..i thought it was quite ridiculous 1 stars
5/07/04 DM Kickass musical, anybody who doesn't like it can go fuck him/herself 5 stars
12/08/03 john this is a great musical and I don't even like musicals - great music! 5 stars
12/03/03 peter haynes cheesey music, wooden acting hard not to stop watching 1 stars
11/18/03 Stacy this move is the bomb, i love it 5 stars
11/13/03 I Would Grease gets a better rating from this site than West Side Story? Fuck off! 5 stars
10/13/03 Shadaan Felfeli Technically brilliant and thoroughly entertaining.It cater's to everyone. 5 stars
6/23/03 CHINA it wakes up your sences 5 stars
4/01/03 Samantha S. A great movie dispite its failure to show reality of "gangster" life. 4 stars
4/01/03 Howie it sux, a waste of time, needed newer songs 1 stars
3/12/03 mandi wonderful movie!!!!!! 5 stars
3/12/03 danielle debruyn i hate it 1 stars
1/13/03 Charles Tatum Long and a little dull 3 stars
7/08/02 nowannab@aol.com Timeless...charismatic, tragedy and triumph 5 stars
7/02/02 Frances this is fuckin awful shit, the guys are so gay, the music is crap and so is the singing. 1 stars
6/16/02 Rosa Muniz Very chesy should have gotten a real latin girl 3 stars
5/15/02 Butterbean A goofy flick that didn't practice what it preached when they cast Wood as a Puerto Rican 2 stars
4/20/02 R.W. Welch Very strong score and choreography; the two leads are less impressive. 4 stars
3/30/02 Allie Timeless Classic!! I Loved It!! 5 stars
3/24/02 Zachary I love this flick 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Some good choreography. Nice tunes. 4 stars
2/01/02 Andrew Carden It Was OK...I'am Waiting For The All-Jew Version: Upper East Side Story. 3 stars
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  18-Oct-1961 (NR)
  DVD: 01-Apr-2003

  27-Feb-1962 (PG)

  06-Jun-1962 (PG)

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