STARRING Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan and Rachel Griffiths
DIRECTED BY Anne Fletcher
If youve seen the trailer, Im sure you already know, but if you are like me and dont have TV, heres the rumpus Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) as a street-smart bad boy with all the right moves. He steals cars, shoots hoops and knows how to get down to the music.
Not so fast he is also incredibly loyal. After vandalizing the Maryland School of the Arts (MSA) with his friend Mac (Damaine Radcliff) and Macs younger brother Skinny (DeShawn Washington), he takes all the heat. Young Tyler is sentenced to 200 hours community service at the scene of the crime. Enter the cast of Fame they can sing, they can dance and they can even look good walking down the halls in their artsy ensembles but none look as good to Tyler as Nora Clark (Jenna Dewan), a hot ballet student in need of a dance partner. Hes got nothing to lose + Shes got something to prove = He teaches her to take a chance and she teaches him to follow his dreams. Have I said too much?
Screenwriter Duane Adler, also responsible for 2001s surprisingly engaging Save the Last Dance, has stumbled with Step Up. Despite a few great lines, the supporting characters are shallow, the situations are cliché and the stakes simply arent as high. Of course, this could have more to do with the skill of the filmmaker. Choreographer-turned-director Anne Fletcher is at the helm and her inexperience shows. All of the dance scenes look great. They are well-staged and contain appropriate doses of humour and skill. Its the story that Fletcher doesnt seem to care about with her cast adrift in a sea of expensive and completely impractical dance outfits.
Tatum isnt bad as the male lead. Hes a great dancer, fun to watch and his good looks will no doubt capture the heart of many a tween girl. Dewan, fresh from this years other dancey film Take the Lead, is boring and out-acted by Rachel Griffiths cowl-necked sweaters. But what a relief to see Heavy D onscreen again look for him in a small role as hoodlum Omar, who has a great line about famous gangsters who went to art school.
This movie is ridiculous and actually achieves so-bad-its-good status as far as teen dance epics go. Still, I wish that Hollywood would just get it together and make that "Sk8er Boi" movie Ive heard so much about. That sounds like a way better story.