Step Up Step Up 3D
dir Jon Chu
scr Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer
prd Erik Feig, Jennifer Gibgot, Adam Shankman, Patrick Wachsberger
with Rick Malambri, Adam G Sevani, Alyson Stoner, Sharni Vinson, Keith Stallworth, Joe Slaughter, Harry Shum Jr, Ally Maki, Stephen Boss, Christopher Scott, Luis Rosado, Kathy Najimy
release US/UK 6.Aug.10
10/US Summit 1h41
Step Up 3D
Comin' atcha: Sevani leads the crew (above); Malambri and Vinson (below)
Step Up 3D
See also:
Step Up 2 the Streets (2008) Step Up Revolution (2012)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Step Up 3D Shamelessly derivative and laughably packed with every cliche imaginable, this second sequel pushes the formula into a full-on celebration of street dance. And through sheer exuberance, it almost gets away with it. It's not good, but it's a lot of fun.

Luke (Malambri) runs a nightclub and dance studio out of the Brooklyn warehouse he inherited from his parents. Despite the fact that the club is packed to the rafters every night, he's behind on his mortgage and really needs to win the upcoming World Jam to save his crew's home. So he challenges his team, the Pirates, to go for it against their arch-rival competitors. New members include Natalie (Vinson), who sparks a romance with Luke, and Moose (Sevani), who neglects his university studies and his pining best pal Camille (Stoner) to dance in secret.

The only connections to the first film are Stoner (from Step Up) and Sevani (from Step Up 2 the Streets), plus a couple of surprise appearances. Otherwise, the filmmakers jettison the clash-of-the-dance-genres premise for a more straightforward sports-movie structure with a win-or-die competition, two formulaic rom-com subplots and a rather pointlessly evil villain in rival team leader Julien (Slaughter), who has a nefarious connection to one of Luke's dancers.

But the filmmakers also realise that the whole point of the exercise is the dancing, and they stage outrageously elaborate dance-offs and montage sequences that are choreographed for maximum 3D gimmickry using water, lights and anything else they can find. Including Slushees blowing in a gust of wind from a Subway vent. This is all done with smiley brio and hectic energy, and the dance sequences are truly exhilarating.

They're so good, in fact, that we can overlook the clunky dialog, which the actors struggle to deliver with any believability. But if their performances are often almost comically stiff, their dance moves are thoroughly entertaining. It's impossible to watch this film without enjoying every ridiculous moment, even if much of the enjoyment is in laughing at the corny script. "We can go anywhere," emotes Natalie, urging Luke to run off with her, "even California!" Oh come on, who would want to go there?

cert 12 themes, brief language 26.Jul.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall