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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 2.78%
Average: 9.72%
Pretty Bad: 11.11%
Total Crap: 34.72%

5 reviews, 42 user ratings

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Step Up
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by EricDSnider

"If the movie were any more generic, it would just be titled 'Movie.'"
2 stars

As far as "Save the Last Dance"/"Center Stage"/"Dirty Dancing"/"Fame"/"Footloose"/etc. rip-offs go, about two-thirds of "Step Up" isn't bad. The dancing is energetic and skillful, and the predictable, hackneyed plot is benign. But then it slips into an odd tangent that drags out the running time, stalls the central story, and suddenly moves the film from "lame but harmless" territory into the "lame and irritating" realm.

Meet Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum), a lanky, limber teenage thug in an unnamed Maryland city who endures a dismal foster-care situation and slouches his way through school. He derives joy from only two things in life: dancing, and stealing cars.

Tyler is white, but his dialect and best friend are black. The best friend is named Mac (Damaine Radcliff). He has a little brother called Skinny (De'Shawn Washington). Skinny's only purpose in the film is to be on standby until he's needed later for that tangent I mentioned. On a regular basis, Tyler, Mac and Skinny will steal cars and dance the night away, as carefree as three juvenile criminals can be.

After an incident of foolish vandalism, Tyler is sentenced to 200 hours of community service at the Maryland School of the Arts, a Fame-like academy for musicians, dancers and artists. His job is to be a janitor, mopping sweat off the dance floors and sweeping marijuana remnants out of the recording studios.

One day Tyler witnesses a crisis. Nora (Jenna Dewan), one of the school's star pupils, is preparing a dance number for the Senior Showcase, but her partner has sprained his ankle! And none of the other male students are good enough to handle the intermediate-level steps her choreography entails! Could Tyler -- a troubled kid from the wrong side of the tracks with a shady past and nothing left to lose -- possibly "step up" and become Nora's dance partner? Is it crazy? Or is it just crazy enough to work?!

It will not surprise you to learn that Nora has a boyfriend (Josh Henderson) who's a total douche, thus opening the door for her and Tyler to fall in love. Nor do I anticipate much shock on your behalf when Mac feels betrayed by Tyler, believing he should be spending less time dancing with Nora and more time playing basketball and committing grand theft auto with him. Why, even Nora's own mother (Deirdre Lovejoy), a prim and repressed desperate housewife, doesn't really "get" dance. It would seem these two lost souls, Tyler and Nora, are all alone in the world. Can't you just feel the achy teen angst?

The dancing, both Tyler's street-level hip-hop movement and the more classical style of Nora's school, is nicely choreographed by Anne Fletcher, who is also the film's director. It's her first time in that latter capacity, and I suppose this is a good starter project: uncomplicated, no subtlety, no surprises. Maybe she's working her way up to something where the screenplay isn't a photocopy of "Save the Last Dance." (More surprises: "Step Up" was co-written by Duane Adler -- who also wrote "Save the Last Dance.")

Apart from its unoriginality and utter lack of imagination, the film has two major problems. First, Tyler is meant to be similar to Eminem's character in "8 Mile": conflicted, sullen and needing an escape from his dreary world. Unfortunately, when it comes to acting, Channing Tatum is no Eminem. He comes across as mouthy and temperamental, hardly likable as a character, even as a "bad boy" type.

The other problem is that weird sidetrack the movie takes late in the game. Picture this: Everything is in place for Nora's big number in the Senior Showcase, which will surely be a stunning success and result in a standing ovation. (All end-of-the-movie performances result in standing ovations.) We have been in our seats for 90 minutes. We know where it's going. We're just waiting to get there.

And then, suddenly, for no reason at all, the story takes a maudlin turn, with characters we have no interest in coming to the forefront and assaulting us with dramatic developments! There are no spoilers here, but suffice it to say that 1) that person did NOT need to have that happen to him or her, and 2) I don't care. An out-of-nowhere complication does not magically make a shallow movie deep. It just makes it longer.

For characters who behave without motivation, for timeworn plots you have already memorized from other films, and for good-looking people performing frenetic dance moves to an admittedly awesome soundtrack, "Step Up" is just what you're looking for.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 08/11/06 18:55:44
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User Comments

10/04/13 Trisha Wirt Freakin love this movie and Channing Tatum! Love his dancing! 5 stars
4/11/09 Dane Youssef One of the worst in the dance movie genre. Tatum's the anchor around the albatross. 1 stars
11/22/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
10/21/08 dfsaklbdfjks BEST FREAKIN MOVIE EVERRRRR! 5 stars
2/14/08 Kat This reviewer is an idiot. Awesome movie. 5 stars
2/01/08 ashina cool 5 stars
12/19/07 melanie best film ever 5 stars
11/19/07 The Russian Lunch Lady ZZZZZZZZZZZZ... huh, what? Sorry, I fell asleep. Lame movie. BAD! 1 stars
10/04/07 Abhishek Chakraborty This is a movie that only dumbass teenage chicks would like don't waste your time with this 1 stars
8/05/07 alex i loved the movie its mi fav so i hope u make another 5 stars
5/10/07 Mandee AWESOME i loved it 5 stars
4/26/07 Smith Jones III nice try 2 stars
4/03/07 Joyselyn Church It was the best movie i have seen in a very long time, I would watch it over and over!!! 5 stars
2/22/07 Beau Best dance movie in a decade, brilliant coreography and performances. cool music!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/04/07 cody a pretty good flick with cool music ,characters, and kick butt danicng . 3.5 stars not 4 3 stars
1/24/07 Kassie Allen I love this movie...Its A'mazing and the day it came out i bought it..i love it 5 stars
1/03/07 dancingrox You should have Anne Fletcher make a learn how to dance DVD i would totally buy it!You Rock 5 stars
12/24/06 Kronk Ok, if I see one more bad comment about this movie and I going to track that person down an 5 stars
12/24/06 Tessa To weird 1 stars
11/23/06 Kayleigh This film is da best itz great!!!!! I wanna no how to dance like that now !!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/14/06 ANiTa I love your movie and it really inspired me a lot..I LOVE IT! ! ! ! 5 stars
11/08/06 Biggest step up fan! OMG best eva dance movie!! the danicng is soo amazing! n wota wiked film! Tyler is so hot!! 5 stars
10/23/06 Jorgi3 its the best movie eva i would love to learn the dance moves and channing is so hot !!!!! 5 stars
10/22/06 Emma best dance movie I have ever seen 5 stars
10/16/06 Monique AWESOME movie... I love it!!! 5 stars
10/03/06 llllove awesome dancing, channing is hott 4 stars
10/02/06 Ken Ji id say, worst movie ever, worst dancing i have ever seen. 1 stars
10/01/06 Stanka this movie is the best dance moive which I´ve ever seen 5 stars
9/22/06 katsat Loosen up. I'm not young, but I had a fun time with it. Loved the dancing. 4 stars
9/05/06 linda awesome 5 stars
9/03/06 Derrick This was the best movie ever made 5 stars
8/22/06 Shelley A Step Down for Step Up 2 stars
8/21/06 Riki Tatum is surprisingly charming in this well-rounded movie 5 stars
8/20/06 Megen this movie friken rocks!!!! 5 stars
8/19/06 susie heart it was an amazing movie 5 stars
8/17/06 Harold When people purchase a ticket, they should immediately be shot in the face. 1 stars
8/16/06 Eddy Ka-Beddy<33 me and my friend love the movie and we want to marry Channing<33 5 stars
8/16/06 melanie i love this movie id love to learn the dance moves 5 stars
8/14/06 Sharon BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!! 5 stars
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  11-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Dec-2006



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