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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 14.29%
Average: 11.43%
Pretty Bad: 8.57%
Total Crap: 7.14%

3 reviews, 52 user ratings

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Center Stage
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by EricDSnider

"Dancers forced to act. It's not pretty."
2 stars

In "Ballet Company 90210" -- I'm sorry, I mean "Center Stage" -- we're treated to what "Fame" would have been if it had been a poorly acted soap opera.

The setting is the American Ballet Academy, a training ground for would-be dancers. Their collective dream, we assume, is to dance for a living. Their individual hopes and dreams are mostly ignored.

Focusing on the women in the academy, we get boyfriends, breakups and bulimia -- your basic soap opera fare -- all melodramatically acted by people who are absolutely fantastic dancers, but mostly terrible actors. (Strangely, Peter Gallagher -- so good as "The King" in "American Beauty" -- is perhaps more over-the-top than anyone, and he's not even a dancer. At least the dancers who are forced to act have an excuse.)

Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull) is the main character, mostly by default: She has the most screen time, but the least personality. She falls for ballet stud Cooper Nielsen (Ethan Stiefel), who sleeps with her, casts her in his ballet, then dumps her, at which point she rushes to the also-bland Charlie (Sascha Radetsky) and falls in a bland sort of love with him.

Meanwhile, there's Eva (Zoe Saldana), a renegade who plays by her own rules (i.e., she breaks all the academy's rules). As such, she is unlikely to make the cut -- unless she can get just one chance to show everyone how good she is. Will she get that chance? You'll be on the edge of your seat!

Also meanwhile, Barbie-thin Maureen (Susan May Pratt) is realizing that dancing is her mother's dream, not hers, and to prove the point, she's gone bulimic. Her dominating mother (Debra Monk) is upset to learn that she won't be able to live her dream vicariously through her daughter after all: "You didn't have the feet," Maureen tells her. "And I don't have the heart."

That's actually some of the better dialogue in "Center Stage," a movie that invites you to predict what will be said next (you'll usually be right, and you'd probably do a better job delivering the line, too).

The idea here was probably to show us all the ins and outs of a dance school: the rivalries, the hard work, the triumphs, the defeats, the bloody toes, etc. There are a good many characters, of which only Maureen's mother is at all believable (Debra Monk is an Emmy-winning actress; the others here are all pretty much either professional dancers making their motion picture debuts, or hack actors).

Another problem is that many scenes go on for waaaay too long. A scene of Cooper and someone doing "Romeo & Juliet"; a scene where a bunch of students go to a nightclub for fun; the final scene, where Cooper's ballet is staged; all of these are worthy of being included, but do not deserve nearly the amount of time they get.

Cooper's ballet, an avant-garde, genre-twisting affair, is actually kind of cool (until you realize it's apparently NEVER GOING TO END). It takes traditional ballet and puts a fresh spin on it. "Center Stage," unfortunately, takes traditional ensemble movies about would-be performers and does absolutely nothing new whatsoever. If you've ever seen a movie in which the characters had a goal, you've heard every line of dialogue here. In fact, you've seen the whole movie. See something else instead, unless you want to watch this one purely for its dancing.

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originally posted: 07/01/03 15:53:32
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User Comments

3/22/09 Dane Youssef Timeless truths about the ballet word. Stellar dance. Now THIS is the world of BALLET. 5 stars
9/04/08 Rachel The dialogue is terrible but the dancing more than makes up for it. 5 stars
9/04/08 Nikki I've watched this on the spanish channel just to see the dancing! 4 stars
11/01/06 kirrily i absolutly love centre stage... its one of my favorate movies... I am australian...woohoo 5 stars
10/17/04 Sarah This was an awesome movie, i live dancing n it had my favorite movie theme added to what do 5 stars
10/08/04 random* stereotypical afterschool special- yawn- great dancing though 3 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva okay 3 stars
6/14/04 Daveman Leave this after school special alone and watch Fame instead. 1 stars
4/08/04 Bex really cool 5 stars
3/06/04 Reza I Love This Film anddancers in film 5 stars
2/14/04 jackie i love it 5 stars
1/22/04 Kristina I love this movie soo much! It is my fav movie and I can't get enough of it 5 stars
1/16/04 ophylia777 so what if they can't act I can't dance like that 5 stars
12/11/03 Cast: 2 reviews, 39 ratings Cast: 2 reviews, 39 ratings 5 stars
12/04/03 krystal gully it is my favourite movie of all time in fact i feel like watching it right now 5 stars
8/08/03 Sugarfoot ABSOLUATELY HORRID! 1 stars
7/31/03 nr great 5 stars
7/30/03 Abby It Is the Best Movie Rock On Makes Me Wanna Dance and i know every move/dance and every li 5 stars
7/27/03 miss miss it is the best movie ever i bought and i watch it 7 times a day 5 stars
6/17/03 Erin LOVE IT!!! I took dance for a couple years when I was young. Now I wish I never stopped!!! 5 stars
4/11/03 Jack Sommersby A mammothly entertaining pic. The dancing and acting are great! A classic. 5 stars
8/14/02 MI It was great; the dance scenes showed pure power of music. 5 stars
2/28/02 AgentDS It's worth seeing just for the -amazing- dance at the end. 4 stars
2/08/02 Andrea I loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm a ballernia!! 5 stars
10/19/01 Shauna It was awesome 5 stars
9/21/01 Viviana I enjoyed everything about the movie, and you would too if you appreciated art! 5 stars
9/10/01 Travis I LOVE THIS MOVIE 5 stars
9/02/01 Jadie SOOOOOO brillian - love the choregraphy, dancing n music, and wow!! Sascha Radetsky!!!!!! 5 stars
7/15/01 kobrichka Plot,acting,dancing,choreography - no comment. Shit, don't waste your time with that movie. 1 stars
6/30/01 ***Super Girl*** everything in this movie sucked, the acting, dancing, the fucking PLOT that didn't exist!!! 1 stars
4/07/01 Hanna Morrison this was a great movie, i enjoyed it, because i do ballet myself 5 stars
1/22/01 Ai Nine year old wrote, directed and produced this film. The dialogue couldn't be lamer. 1 stars
1/14/01 Kat Sascha Radetsky is mad hot~!! 5 stars
12/07/00 janell it was the best dance flim ever i would give it a 20 on a 1-10 scale it was great 5 stars
11/29/00 Jessica This movie was awesome. I liked that it showed dancing was tough! Im a dancer 5 stars
11/23/00 Erin I am obssesed with this movie!!!i love charlie!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/21/00 Lindsay Scott IT ROCKED...especially charlie 5 stars
11/15/00 MiS^DeMeAnOr I liked it, the ending was a bit far fetched 4 stars
11/13/00 Andrea I love this movie! I could watch it over and over! It made me feel like I was actually them 5 stars
10/23/00 PoOh#7 pretty good beter at the end 4 stars
10/07/00 Menolly I love this movie so much! I have seen it twice, and I am waiting the video :). 5 stars
9/28/00 Theresa Thoughly enjoyed it!!! Well done to all the dancers. 5 stars
8/05/00 Megan Hunter I think this was a great movie with an excellant cast. I think the dancing was great too. 5 stars
6/07/00 Whata Watch this one when you don't want to think you just want to enjoy a movie 4 stars
5/31/00 jess it is the best movie i have ever seen it reminded me of dirty dancing 5 stars
5/24/00 Lyndsay Green I really enjoyed the movie, I have seen it twice. 4 stars
5/19/00 Charles Predictable; better filmed ballet than usual for Hollywood 4 stars
5/16/00 Justine Briggs I think that young girls will really enjoy this. 4 stars
5/14/00 Junko Suwa I wanted to see Ilia Kulik (as Sergei) much much more, especially his modern ballet. 5 stars
5/14/00 Joe Smaltz The plot was predictable, but I went for the dancing, Which was awsume, so I enjoyed it. 4 stars
5/13/00 Kristen I loved It. For ballet dancers the teachers and the students sure act well. 5 stars
5/07/00 Klute. More fun than I expected. 4 stars
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  12-May-2000 (PG-13)


  14-Sep-2000 (M)

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