You Got Served
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr Christopher B Stokes
with Omari Grandberry, Marques Houston, Jennifer Freeman, Steve Harvey, Michael 'Bear' Taliferro, Jarell Houston, Esther Scott, Meagan Good, Malcolm David Kelley, Christopher Jones, Jerome Jones, Lil' Kim
release US 30.Jan.04, UK 25.Jun.04
Screen Gems
04/US 1h33

Boyz n the hood: Jarell Houston, Frederic, Marques Houston and Grandberry

You Got Served
You Got Served Support Shadows: Buy a Poster
There's such a terrific sense of energy to this film, capturing the raw power of street dancing, that it's a pity the story isn't better than it is. We want it to be a good film ... but it just isn't. It centres on best friends David (Grandberry) and El (Marques Houston), who win every underground L.A. dance battle with their astonishingly inventive moves. Then a series of events breaks up their friendship--including the facts that David starts seeing El's sister (Freeman) and a job for the local drug boss (Taliferro) goes horribly wrong. Can they patch up their differences to defeat their arch nemeses (Jones and Jones) and win an MTV competition with massive prize money and the chance to star in Lil' Kim's next video?

Alas, the plot isn't exactly surprising. And the dialog takes a rather tortuous journey from these non-actors' mouths to the audience's ears. Nothing sounds remotely authentic or believable, then they hit the dance floor and all is forgotten for 10 minutes of mind-boggling, gravity-defying hip-hop that dazzles us with its skill and creativity, mixing all kinds of dance influences into an earthy, urgent style. Yes, it's far too choreographed to be believable as improvised street dance, bit it's so good that we don't mind at all.

While they're seriously gifted dancers (and most are musicians as well), the cast struggles to make the transition to acting, because the dialog and direction are so stilted. The film is badly in need of a much more earthy, verite approach to plot and characters, yet it tries to force everything into an emotionally manipulative Hollywood blueprint that just seems increasingly silly as it progresses. It does touch on several serious issues, but never really grapples with anything. There's plenty of material here to make an excellent little film, but every cliche in the dialog kills it in its tracks, until we actually begin to laugh at the inanity of it all, wanting to yell at the screen: "Just shut up and dance!"

cert PG themes, violence, some language 26.Apr.04

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... You Got Served Chantel, Alberta, Canada: 5/5 "I LOVE You Got Served, it's the best movie ever. it's so Hot. and i love Christopher Jones. He is so so Hot and everyone in the movie are such good dancers. He's HOT!" (26.Jun.04)

Lyanee, Lowville NY: 5/5 "I loved this movie. It makes you want to go and live it up on the streets. and learn hip hop. Love it." (20.Jul.04)

Alicia, Virginia: 1.5/5 "This is strictly for the dancing. When you watch it on DVD please, I beg you, please, don't forget to just skip to the dance scenes! It is a waste of time to watch the whole movie and it is aggravating with the non-acting conflicts. I rate the movie a 10 in dancing a 1 1/2 for the plot and script." (3.Aug.04)

La'Kya, Issaquah, Washington: 5/5 "Omgosh just to start out the guys are as fine as it gets and let me tell you watchin it makes a girl just wanna get up and move around a lil bit! Come on ya'll know what I'ma sayin cause this movie is just the bomb-shiggety baby! i wish i could have seen the makin of this movie cause it was (still is) hot as it gets baby! and I would just llike to give a shout out to my baby Omarion and oryan and marques houston and raz-b and all my fine black guys you know i love ya'll." (16.Mar.05)

zack page, america: 5/5 "its the best the best film in the world nopthin better than that davids my nfavourot and all the moves are hot." (29.Mar.07)

2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall