“Finding Your Feet” is an off-balanced, by the numbers feel good flick with a general lack of humor and occasional moments of inspired heart. This premise, of Brits using dance to battle newfound problems of old age, should be ripe for comedic potential. But instead of two-stepping towards risky and rewarding laughs, “Finding Your Feet” plays it safe with its docile, Do-si-do story.
The movie kicks off with the distinguished Sandra (Imelda Staunton) finding out her beloved husband has been cheating on her. Sandra says goodbye to her opulent, Roman-column-filled home and takes a cab cross-country to shack up with Bif (Celia Imre) in her overstuffed London pad. Sandra and Bif are mirror opposites, with Sandra’s over-inflated sense of entitlement matched by Bif’s confidence to tell her sister she’s full of hot air.
Bif invites Sandra to a recurring dance meetup where some of her closest friends Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lumley) and Ted (David Hyman) each shake their gluteus with bashful glee. Turns out Sandra was a skilled dancer in her youth, and this group becomes the means of transforming her from aristocratic curmudgeon into a carefree countess.
Each of the characters has dealt with or is currently facing some sort of personal loss or struggle rooted in old age. Charlie seems an easygoing, blissful bloke but is taking care of a memory-disabled loved one who painfully can’t remember the sight of his face. While Bif seems to have a sturdy head on her shoulders, the sight of her entering an MRI indicates not everything is right upstairs.
They’re thoughtful characters in a touching premise, but sadly not much happens in “Finding Your Feet” to truly bring them to life. The first act is a snore until we’re finally awoken by some dancing fun. Sandra is realistic but not likable enough to let us vicariously live through her dancing joy. And as the movie beckons us to swing with the unpredictability of life and to cha cha our challenges into opportunities, we can’t help but say no to “Finding Your Feet’s” dignified but dull invitation.