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|Step Up 2: The Streets|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Jon M Chu|
scr Toni Ann Johnson, Karen Barna
with Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Adam G Sevani, Will Kemp, Black Thomas, Cassie Ventura, Sonja Sohn, Danielle Polanco, Telisha Shaw, Christopher Scott, Mari Koda, Channing Tatum
release US 14.Feb.08, UK 21.Mar.08
08/US Touchstone 1h38
Remember my name: Hoffman (above); Shaw, Evigan and Polanco (below).
With a script cut-and-pasted from every other dance movie, this film is shockingly corny. So it's a good thing the cast is sharp and fresh, and they sure can dance.
Andie (Evigan) is a troubled Baltimore teen living with her late mom's best friend (Sohn). On the verge of being shipped off to (the horror!) Texas, she gets a last-minute reprieve by enrolling in the Maryland School of the Arts as a dance student. But this causes problems with her street crew, so she instead unites the school misfits to create a new crew with the help of Chase (Hoffman), black sheep of the arts dynasty whose frowny older brother Blake (Kemp) runs the school. This sets up showdowns both at school and in the streets.
Yeah whatever. The plot may sound like one big clich‚àö¬©, but that's nothing compared to the dialog: there's probably not a single line in this film that you haven't heard before. And every conflict and plot turn is so painfully obvious that the audience groaning starts about 10 minutes in, moving to outright giggles soon after. Meanwhile, the dance sequences are over-choreographed to within an inch of their lives, which makes the supposedly improvised street dancing look more like a segment from Stomp.
It also doesn't help that director Chu indulges in choppy camera angles and slo-mo effects, which further distract from the performances. Fortunately, the young cast really goes for it, making the most of their stereotypes and cranking up the dance-floor energy. Even the in film's most thankless roles (Kemp's spoilsport school director, Sohn's worried surrogate mum, Thomas' violent thug, Ventura's classically trained brat), the actors try to make their characters interesting.
But there's nothing about the writing and directing that isn't simplistic, from the clumsy set-up to the double-barrelled finale at the climactic school performance and big streets competition, which of course take place on the same night. But at least the choreographers pull out some truly astonishing dance moves in the final scenes, made even more cinematic when they're performed in a downpour. The only thing missing is that one last cheesy line: "Is it raining? I hadn't noticed."
|sumbul tash kamal, India: "I liked this movie a lot. I would like to read the all script. It will help me enjoy the movie even more." (4.Jan.10)|
© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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