Step Up – Movie Review

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Another movie I grabbed while thinking about the Pixar movie Up, I just finished watching Step Up.  Step Up is about an inner city foster kid who hangs out with his friends and boost cars, but what he really likes to do is dance.  Through some convoluted story-telling he is sentenced by a judge to do 200 hours community service at a school for the arts.

This is where the movie basically begins…

So the “fresh” inner city youth who is all about popping and locking has to some janitorial work at a school trying very hard in the first 10 minutes to be the school from Fame.  Walking through the hall Tyler (Channing Tatum, in three movies this year: Fighting, Public Enemies, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) passes by people carrying artwork, dancing in the halls, walking down the hall singing “A Capella” in groups, and playing violin, all in the one stretch of hallway.  We get it, it’s a school for talented people.

Through some creative plot devices, Nora (Jenna Dewan) is forced to ask Tyler to practice with her for her big senior performance.  This of course leads to Tyler adding just enough street into Nora’s routine to make it really stand out so she isn’t forced to go to Cornell like her mother so desperately wants her to, phew crisis averted.

The story is very derivative of many other movies where a prissy ballerina learns something from a rough kid from the streets.  In fact I really thought this movie was Save The Last Dance when I started to watch it, but realized when Julia Stiles didn’t show up that it must be a different movie.

Overall the movie isn’t terrible, the dance scenes are well choreographed and the scenes between Tyler and Nora are believable enough.  There are just some nit-picky things that movies like this always seem to think the audience will not just forgive, but actually expects.

For instance, when dancers go to a club a spontaneous ultra-choreographed d, ance number will be performed by what seems like total strangers.  Also everything works out in the end… except one person dies, but that is just the sort of push the secondary characters need to move on with their life and stop boosting cars.

Basically the entire friends from the hood storyline should have been dropped, along with most of the foster parent strife which doesn’t add much to the movie after it’s established Tyler’s life isn’t all that great (which I guess is what you need to explain why a nice young Irish boy would fall into trouble with inner city hoodlums).

One thing I thought was very interesting and different was the credit sequence.  Instead of a simple credit scroll, it waved back and forth and in the free space that was created they played what appeared to be audition video’s (possibly from all the people who didn’t make the cast).  I found that very interesting and caused me to stay until the end of the credits, I think more movies should consider the credits as part of the movie, not something tacked on at the end to show while people are leaving the theater.

Summary: Don’t go out of your way to see Step Up, but don’t go out of your way to miss it either.

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