The Team Gerdes Occasional Teen Performance Film Festival got around to Step Up today. She's a dancer from a privileged but cold family. He's doing janitor work at her art school as community service for his juvenile delinquent ways. Will his streetwise hiphop moves change her stiff classically-trained choreography*? Will they find love despite their different backgrounds**? Will the death of a young friend force him to reexamine his life***? Will there be a big dance number at the Senior Showcase that brings together everyone's talents and impresses the talent scouts****? What, are you retarded? Of course there will.
Maybe I just wasn't feeling it this afternoon -- Erica correctly pointed out that the plot isn't any worse than any of this sort of movie we watch all the time -- but Step Up seemed particularly inane and arbitrary to me. The filmmakers wanted the movie to have stakes, it seemed, but weren't willing to actually spend the time to create characters or situations that support those stakes. "Saying the words doesn't make it so," the School of the Arts Director tells Tyler when he proclaims his commitment to dance, and I think it's advice the filmmakers should have heeded. (And, seriously, WTF kind of stakes is "if you don't get immediately hired into a dance company out of high school, you're going to have to go to Cornell. Boo hoo.)
The dancing's not bad, though.
FuzzyCo grade: C+
* Just like in Save the Last Dance.
** Just like in Save the Last Dance.
*** Just like in You Got Served.
**** Just like in Center Stage. Actually, just like in every movie in Team Gerdes Occasional Teen Performance Film Festival.