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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 Erik Childress

"Breakin’ 3 Can’t Arrive Soon Enough"
1 stars

I’m about to make a very bold, but very simple admition that could effect my future film reviewing duties. It’s a personal statement, one that’s been growing in me for some time and something that I believe is vital to be shared with my reading audience. I hope you’re all sitting down because this is a big one. Dancing is frickin’ stupid! I acknowledge that I am not the first person in history to smackdown with this statement – which is not opinion – complete fact. Jerry Seinfeld said the same on his show when he couldn’t believe he was getting dragged to it on a date holding her keys and a tin full of Altoids. Even he if did get jiggy with it, at least there was the promise of sexual contact afterwards which is all dancing really is; foreplay before the actual foreplay. I don’t know what you call modern dance pictures like Step Up except for another recurring thought from Seinfeld – something about “a full body dry heave set to music.”

Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) can dance! At least I suppose that’s what those impromptu gyrations are at parties with his buddy, Mac (Damaine Radcliff) and Mac’s younger brother, Skinny (De'Shawn Washington). When they’re not playing video games, ripping off cars for the most understanding chop shop boss in Baltimore (Heavy D) or dancin’, they prefer the random vandalism of the local art school; an act that gets Tyler what I only assume is MORE hours of community service cleaning up the very school whom he “robbed someone’s future” from with his thoughtless destruction.

While mopping up he notices the shapely Nora (Jenna Dewan), a dance student pinning all her hopes on a mid-year “showcase”. She notices him too as he makes fun of the school’s “stiff” moves while he spins and contorts like an eplileptic without his meds. When her dufus partner sprains his ankle “in class” (my guess: falsetto training), apparently no other student in this privileged academy is capable of pulling off a “lift” which is more like the dyslexic version of the famous move in Dirty Dancing. Only Tyler has the moves that she needs and after convincing the headmaster (a “what am I doing here?” performance by Rachel Griffiths) to let the criminal janitor to practice with her - they go through a series of he-dances-with-me/he-dances-with-me-not-cause-he’s-too-proud-despite-wanting-to-better-himself-even-with-pressure-of-not-spending-time-with-his-best-friend…games.

These are the clichés of our lives while we wait for someone to start kickin’ to the funky grooves. Even the music mixed for their pleasure has no distinct rhythm to it and there’s nothing more embarrassing than actors bobbing their heads and trying to desperately convince themselves that their friend’s jams are somehow different than anything they’d hear at a club on a Saturday night. Then you have the dancing scenes, most of which come in montages and are supposed to be leading to this end-all, be-all final moment of ecstacy and energy which lasts a grand total of under four minutes. That’s hardly a “showcase.” More like the entr’acte to a visual thesis that proves my original statement.

I will briefly take it back though. There can be an absolute majesty to dance when choreographed to an artform or when it bursts with the type of energy that would kill mere mortals. Dewan gets one such solo moment, but its unwisely intercut with events leading to the biggest cliché of all. If director/choreographer Anne Fletcher wanted a true showcase, she could have allowed Dewan this one moment even if it would have exponentially exposed her utter lack of respect for the field in which she derives by ignoring all other potential sequences in the film. After Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance and Footloose, the non-musical dance flick pretty much peaked with Dirty Dancing in 1987. I know we’ve had Save the Last Dance, Mad Hot Ballroom and even Dancing with the Stars more recently (which after Take the Lead and this, Dewan should seriously tryout for), but does anyone remember Shall We Dance?, Dance with Me or Shout? Step Up barely achieves that level of notoriety, would probably be booted off “So You Think You Can Dance” and booed off of “America’s Got Talent.”

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originally posted: 08/11/06 14:01:08
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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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