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Pop Forecast (Come Dance With Me, Ke$ha, Playing For Keeps)

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Pop Forecast (Come Dance With Me, Ke$ha, Playing For Keeps)

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” but these days, a guide through the seemingly endless flurry of pop culture is just what you do need. With that in mind, here is what’s on the radar screen in TV, music and film for the coming week.

• TV

Big event: Come Dance With Me (Dec. 8, CTV, 8 p.m. ET/PT)

Big picture: Tinseltown is preoccupied with checking its lists, checking them twice — and finding out which shows have been naughty enough in the ratings to be cancelled. In a week dominated largely by reruns, a new Hallmark TV movie could get you in the holiday spirit. Come Dance With Me has everything you could possibly dream of — as long as those dreams consist largely of rom-com schmaltz, cheese ball dialogue and wafer-thin plot lines. When Jack (Andrew McCarthy of Lipstick Jungle) decides to take dance lessons to impress his high-maintenance gal pal (Stephanie Mills) he finds himself falling for Christine (Michelle Nolden of Saving Hope), his “dance instructor with a heart of gold.”

Forecast: It is Christmas after all. If there was ever a time for feel-good romance and comedy — not to mention dancing — this is it. Save your zombie apocalypses and serial killers for after the holidays. This movie is simply asking you to “Come Dance With Me.” For skeptical men out there, at the very least this movie could make for a great drinking game: every time you wince or feel like throwing something at the television, just take another sip of egg nog.

Honourable Mention: Stars on Ice (Dec. 3, CBC, 8 p.m. ET/PT). Sorry to lead you on, folks. The NHL lockout isn’t over yet. In a frustrated, hockey-deprived Canada, this special should really have re-thought its title. But TV audiences can warm up for the Hallmark dance with some stunning on-ice moves. Four-time world champion Kurt Browning choreographs top-tier Canadian figure skaters such as Joannie Rochette, Cynthia Phaneuf, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in a special, one-hour performance. (Personally, I’d like to see Scott Moir paired up with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, watch him toss Gary up in the air and then just let him drop.)


Big release: Ke$ha (Deconstructed) (Dec. 4).

Big picture: Yes, she’s still scantily clad. Yes, she still loves to party ... and, yes, she still looks like she spent the last 48 hours sleepless, dancing and frolicking at an underground club — and then went home with Charlie Sheen. But Ke$ha is maturing. Seriously. In her debut album, she was an Animal + Cannibal. In her upcoming sophomore album, she’s a “Warrior.” On this special EP, she is Deconstructed (ie. 60 per cent water, 20 per cent body glitter, 20 per cent vodka).

Forecast: It will be nice to see Ke$ha slow things down a bit; her EP features acoustic versions of two new songs from Warrior: Die Young and Supernatural, as well as a cover of Dolly Parton’s Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You, which was co-written by Ke$ha’s mother, Pebe Sebert. Wait a minute, Ke$ha has a mother???

Honourable mentions: Bif Naked (Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits & Other Delights). One of Canada’s finest songwriters offers the best of her 20-year career, including Lucky, Spaceman and the newly recorded tracks Nobody Knows and So Happy I Could Die. Bif’s autobiography is also scheduled to come out in the next year. Given her colourful history and emotionally charged advocacy for woman’s empowerment and animal rights issues, it’s bound to be an intriguing read — unlike Ke$ha’s future autobiography (Chapter 3: “Woke up under a highway overpass again today smelling like cigarettes, gin and KFC ...”).


Big release: Playing For Keeps (Dec. 7)

Big picture: Gerald Butler bends it like Beckham and grins it like Grant (Hugh). He plays a washed-up, ex-soccer star with a charming accent and perfect hair who is trying to make things right with his estranged son and former flame (Jessica Biel). Naturally, he ends up coaching his son’s soccer team, which largely consists of teaching the wee tots cute British insults like “wanker.” Even more naturally, he also ends up attracting the attention of a parade of randy soccer moms. Will he score with the ladies or score with his loved ones?

Forecast: If only I had a dime for every time Hollywood tried to rehabilitate a brash, arrogant sports star and teach him the “real meaning of life.” Butler’s sports-car-loving footballer is perfectly summarized in the film: “He’s just one of those guys: Women like him, men want to be him.” (Sigh. Why does no one ever utter lines like that about washed-up entertainment writers?). Beyond the starting lineup, the film’s co-stars should certainly score a few points: Uma Thurman, Dennis Quaid and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In the end, this one won’t make Butler’s career highlights’ reel, but it will tug on the heartstrings.