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Overall Rating
3.08

Awesome: 15.38%
Worth A Look: 7.69%
Average50%
Pretty Bad: 23.08%
Total Crap: 3.85%

3 reviews, 8 user ratings


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Stomp the Yard
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Nobody Is Getting Served Here."
2 stars

While I can’t say that I went into the screening of “Stomp the Yard” with anything remotely resembling enthusiasm, the idea of sitting through a featherbrained teen-oriented dance extravaganza did have a certain appeal. For starters, after a couple of solid months of earnestly serious slabs of Oscar bait, the idea of watching something decidedly innocuous did hold a certain appeal. Besides, as such recent efforts as “High School Musical” and “Take the Lead” have demonstrated, such a film can make for a mindlessly entertaining night at the movies. Alas, “Stomp the Yard” shoots itself in the foot right from the start by taking a story that is mindless through and through and treating it as if it was the most profound drama imaginable and the result is a film that is so draggy that even though it provides you with plenty of ammunition throughout, you can barely work up the energy to mock it after a while.

After an attempt at hustling at a dance contest ends with the shooting death of his younger brother (don’t ask), angry-but-fleet-footed DJ (Columbus Short) is shipped off to Atlanta to live with his uncle and aunt (Harry Lennix and Valerie Pettiford) and attend the all-black Truth University while working on campus as a gardener. (Not only does he stomp the yard, he mows and sods it as well!) At first, he wants nothing to do with the place until he gets a load of co-ed cutie April (Meagan Good) and sets about pursuing her. At the same time, his mad terpsichorean skills catch the eye of two rival fraternities who both try to get him to pledge–the evil fraternity promises him a lifetime of solid business connections in exchange for using his dancing abilities to win the national stepping competition that they have taken for seven years straight while the good fraternity promises to teach him the meaning of loyalty and brotherhood in exchange for using his dancing abilities to win the national stepping competition that they have lost for seven years straight.

Along the way, DJ has to woo April away from the evil leader of the rival fraternity, get past the guilt over his brother’s death, fight an unfair suspension from school (brought about by the evil campus official who happens to be both April’s overprotective father and the old boyfriend that DJ’s aunt dumped in order to marry his uncle) and convince his fellow dance team members that they need to freshen up their routines with some hot new moves if they are to win the big stepping contest. This is a lot for any student to hope to accomplish and I guess that it is a good thing for DJ that he never seems to ever have any classes that he has to attend. The finale is, of course, dedicated to the dance contest which is striking only because one of the routines appears to have been inspired by, of all things, “An American Werewolf in London.”


“Stomp the Yard” is a silly bit of teensploitation that presents a world in which there isn’t a single problem imaginable that can’t be solved by winning the big dance contest in the final reel. Fifty years ago, such a film would have been cranked out by the likes of Sam Katzman or Roger Corman as mindless fluff that would have been over and done with in about 70 minutes tops The problem with “Stomp the Yard” is that it is mindless fluff that has somehow deluded itself into thinking that it is far more important and profound than it actually is. The result is a lugubrious bore that takes a story that could have been jotted down on a gum wrapper (with space for revisions) and stretches it out to nearly two interminable hours of screen time. (Hell, “Children of Men” was twenty minutes shorter and that film was dealing with the end of freaking civilization.) Things aren’t helped by the fact that the Short is such a sullen and charisma-free bore throughout as our loner hero that it is impossible to work up much interest in whether he manages to win the girl, stay in school and triumph at the big dance contest.

Speaking of which, even the dance sequences–which are, after all, the raison d’etre for “Stomp the Yard” in the first place–aren’t very impressive because it is obvious (especially during the opening dance-off) that the moves have been digitally manipulated to such a degree that whatever spontaneity they might have once had is completely lost. This would be bad enough on its own but it comes across as especially egregious when you compare the fakery on display here with the legitimately spectacular and completely real-time dance moves that were on display in the recent film “Rize.” Alas, “Rize” was a low-budget documentary while “Stomp the Yard” is a heavily promoted studio release and as a result, it will most likely make more in its opening day than “Rize” did in its entire theatrical run. Clearly, someone is getting served here but it certainly isn’t the audience.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15521&reviewer=389
originally posted: 01/12/07 16:26:41
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User Comments

4/26/08 Lindsay It's a pretty cool movie 5 stars
8/20/07 Kelo Fabolous Stuff the plot!! It was all about the HONEYZZ!! This movie has the finest guys in it!! 5 stars
6/15/07 William Goss Dance sequences are impressive, but can barely make up for generic story. 3 stars
5/21/07 saleem hardwick good family movie and entertaining 4 stars
3/22/07 Nillie it is an aweosome movie! 5 stars
2/07/07 joslyn arnold I love this movie every one in fine in it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/21/07 Todd Who the hell greenlights this shit? 1 stars
1/16/07 Sandy great dancing, a movie filled with energy and positive messages 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Jan-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-May-2007

UK
  16-Mar-2007 (12)
  DVD: 23-Jul-2007

Australia
  12-Apr-2007


Directed by
  Sylvain White

Written by
  Robert Adetuyi

Cast
  Brian J. White
  Columbus Short
  Ne-Yo
  Meagan Good



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