Worth A Look: 7.78%
Pretty Bad: 2.78%
Total Crap: 28.89%
4 reviews, 156 user ratings
|You Got Served
by Collin Souter
“You Got Served” tells the story of a bunch of crews (dance teams) who breakdance competitively for hundreds—sometimes a thousand—dollars. Two teams of dancers hit the dance floor in what looks like the makings of a prison riot (Is it a rec center? Is it an abandoned warehouse? Do they share the space with the Regional Cockfighters Union?). They dance against each other, but the dancers swerve in and out of each other’s spaces that it makes it virtually impossible for the viewer to glom onto a particular side. When asked to applaud for your favorite crew, one can only just sit there and wait for the court of popular opinion to decide for you (i.e., those who actually could follow it without being hindered by bad editing).Same goes for the plot. Much of what happens between the characters in “You Got Served” happens off-camera. You can almost feel writer-director Chris Stokes nudging you in the ribs every five minutes and saying, “Yeah, something major just happened there. Just trust me on this, it happened. Some major drama. I know you couldn’t see it, but it went down. That’s me in the background waving at the camera. Cool, huh.” So, yeah, the movie has that crassness about it in that it basically aims at quietly pandering to its audience (young, dopey fools) by just showing them breakdance scenes for the sake of them. Everything else exists as filler.
"...or, Why BREAKIN' Has Stood the Test of Time"
Speaking of mindless filler, I grew up with the “Breakin’” movies, as well as “Beat Street” and the misbegotten “Body Rock.” I know how this works and I fell for it too. I was 11-12 fer Chrissakes! I wasn’t even half the film freak I am now and it didn’t matter that the acting in these movies fell below Razzie standards. I’m sure the pre-teens who attend this flick will be marginally entertained on that same level. At least in the “Breakin’” movies, Ozone (played by Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones) had charisma and his gay-but-not-out comic sidekick Turbo (played by Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers) played up that cocktail party scene for all its worth. And I can even still remember his immortal line: “How about some pig cheese?”
Lemme ask you, have you watched that movie lately? MGM recently released both “Breakin’” and “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” on DVD and they couldn’t have picked a better time. With the availability of these movies, we may now go back to see how well they hold up today (exactly 20 years later. Think about that). I’m of the opinion that the first “Breakin’” movie has better stood the test of time after having aged 20 years than “You Got Served” has after its first 20 minutes. Why? Glad you asked, grasshopper. Pay attention.
--“Breakin’” kept its plot simple. Three aspiring dancers compete against a few other dancers in a national competition. “You Got Served” features the same plot, but with a sub-plot involving one of the guys getting beat up while working as a courier for a druglord/gangsta/whatever.
--If one of the characters in “Breakin’” were to be killed, we would have a good idea of which one. In “You Got Served,” a character gets killed and we have to try and process which one. Since everyone here has seven names, that makes it difficult. We pretty much have to figure out which character hasn’t appeared in a long while before we figure it out (Again, lots of action happens off screen).
--The main dancer/character in “Breakin’” is a woman (Lucinda Dickey as Kelly). In “You Got Served,” all the main characters/dancers are men.
--In “Breakin’” Shabba-Doo has that nice soliloquy about why people dance in spite of their shortcomings, in this case, a dancer with unusable legs and using the crutches to his advantage. No such poetry exists at the heart of “You Got Served.” In fact, it gets hard to tell whether or not it’s a dance film or a basketball film.
--In “Breakin’” and especially “Breakin’ 2,” Boogaloo Shrimp can work magic when he dances (dancing with a broom in the first film and causing it to hover; in the second film, literally dancing on the ceiling). No such magic realism exists in “You Got Served,” which makes it all the more head-scratching. Hey, if you’re gonna make a silly dance movie, why not go all the way with it?
--“Breakin’” features a then-unknown Ice T. “You Got Served” features an almost non-existent Lil’ Kim, which brings me to my next point.
--Part of the charm of “Breakin’” lies in the fact that they didn’t have the budget to hire big movie/music stars, not even for a cameo. In “You Got Served,” the winners of the dance competition get to star in a video by Lil’ Kim. Our heroes win, of course, but the movie ends there. WE NEVER GET TO SEE THE VIDEO!!! Hey, if you don’t have the budget to follow through on a pay-off like that, you probably shouldn’t introduce it in the first place.
--In baseball, you wear a cap. In football, you wear a helmet. –George Carlin
--“Breakin’” has a cool title that tells you what it will be about. What the hell does “You Got Served” mean?
--The makers of “Breakin’” cracked out a sequel about eleven months after its release. The makers of “You Got Served” could very well crack one out before the end of March.
--Nobody has parents in “Breakin’.” Too many parents and grandparents exist in “You Got Served,” one of whom puts donuts on her kitchen table for display purposes only.
--“Breakin’” has one of the silliest dance villains ever the grace the silver screen (Ben Lokey as Kelly’s aggressively closeted-yet-out teacher who refuses the accept breakdancing as a viable form of dance). The only unintentional laugh in “You Got Served” comes when one of the dance montages shifts to scenes of guys breakdancing…in the rain…with thunder and lightning…in slow motion!!! (This, by the way, marks the first unintentional laugh of the year, unless you count Ashton Kutcher’s twitching in “The Butterfly Effect,” which only received a minor chuckle from myself.)
--The editing in “Breakin’” is minimal, allowing viewers to enjoy the dancing without getting dizzy or confused. “You Got Served” is chopped and scrambled like a salsa omelet cooked up by a blind epileptic.
--The tagline on “Breakin’” is cheeky: “Push it to pop it! Rock it to lock it! Break it to make it!” The tagline on “You Got Served” is just confusing and stupid: “If you want respect, you’ve got to take it!” Huh?
--Finally, “Breakin’” is compulsively watchable crap. “You Got Served” is barely releasable shit.So, there you go. Unfortunately, I could not find a rentable copy of “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” for further comparison, but I believe the point has been made clear. If you want to bring back the ‘80s by emulating the immortal movie-making team of Golan-and-Globus of Cannon films (the executive producers of “Breakin’” and a staple of bad ‘80s cinema), you HAVE TO GET GOLAN AND GLOBUS! Everything else is just 4th-rate. Don’t think so? Go back and watch these two movies back-to-back, if you dare, and just try to disagree with me. Christopher B. Stokes? You just Got Served! (And that's bad, right?)
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8629&reviewer=233
originally posted: 02/02/04 16:26:41