You Got Served

Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 02/03/04 15:30:16

"Yup. You sure served me but good. Now please go away."
1 stars (Total Crap)

I have two rather obscure guidelines about movies: 1. A movie can never use the word "dopest" more than once, and that one time must be easily construed as satiric in nature. 2. Any movie that features the line "Hey, they stole our moves!" is a bad film. 'You Got Served' breaks both of these rules. More than once, too.

Urgghghghgh. I don't know what's more stunning: that such a banal and amateurish retread like You Got Served actually got produced...or that the damn thing made well over $15 million in its opening weekend. Either way, the truth is plain to see:

Deliver mindless stupidity and you'll probably make a quick buck.

You Got Served is about dancing. Street dancing. The sort of make-believe dancing that inner-city youths participate in instead of playing Xbox or having sex or joining a gang. Stuff that we used to see in all the Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson videos: a line-up of youths all hippin' and hoppin' and be-boppin' in time to the music.

It would all be quite entertaining, except for two key factors:

1. The dancing sequences are atrocious. That's not to say that there aren't some fine dancers in the cast; it's just that writer/director Chris Stokes (working, rather inauspiciously, on his first feature) has not one infinitesimal clue on how to shoot a musical number.

Here's the barest of basics: A) Find some good dancers. B) Put something remotely interesting in the background (cardboard boxes do not count as 'remotely interesting'). C) Point your camera at the dancers. D) If at all possible, allow your camera to linger on the dancers for longer than, say, 1.7 consecutive seconds. D) When you have some clear and fully articulated footage of talented people dancing, make sure you do NOT overedit the material. This sucks all the wind from your dance number -AND- it makes your performers look like crappy dancers! Why? Because if the dancing was so amazing, why would you bury the stuff with an atrocious 'quick-cut' editing style?

2. The non-dancing sequences are painful. Like...Spanish Inquisition painful. Think of just about every single "let's put on a show" cliche that you can possibly think of (but don't make up anything new; that'd be "creative writing"), toss it into a Hood Slang Lingo blender, toss in a few heavy-rotation pop tunes, and watch the MTV automatons line up for their weekend allowance of Pap & Pander.

If I told you the thing was about a starry-eyed gang of hip-hoppers who get "played" by a collection of effeminate boy-banders, only to win a fat paycheck, a pretty girl, and the big competetion (while pausing briefly to "do it for..." the suddenly-dead character) before the finale, would that make the flick sound anything less than unflinchingly awful? If so, I'm just not doing my job.

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