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Step Up (PG-13)

Release Date: August 11th, 2006 by Touchtone Pictures.
The Cast: Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Damaine Radcliff, De'Shawn Washington, Mario, Drew Sidora, Rachel Griffiths, Josh Henderson, Tim Lacatena, Alyson Stoner, Heavy D, Deirdre Lovejoy.
Directed by Anne Fletcher.

BASIC PREMISE: Tyler (Tatum), a new janitor at Maryland School of the Arts, falls in love with Nora (Dewan), a ballet student, while being her dance partner.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Step Up has a very formulaic, contrived plot with appealing actors and immensely entertaining dance sequences. Between all of the dance sequences, very little happens that’s engaging or even convincing. Channing Tatum gives an irritatingly wooden performance as Tyler, a delinquent from a poor family who performs community service at Maryland School of the Arts after getting arrested for trespassing and vandalizing its property. There, he meets Nora, a beautiful ballet student who notices his talent for dancing and eventually chooses him as her dance partner when her original partner (Henderson)—who happens to be her boyfriend as well— injures his leg. Rachel Griffiths gives a decent performance as the director of the school who keeps agrees to temporarily allow Tyler to dance with Nora. The best performance here belongs to Alyson Stoner as Tyler’s much younger sister who provides plenty of comic relief. Jenna Dewan looks sexy and has charm, but, as Nora, she lacks any real chemistry with Tyler. Co-writers Duane Adler and Melissa Rosenberg include too much stilted and corny dialogue which fails to bring any of the characters to life outside of the dance floor. On the other hand, director Anne Fletcher does manage to bring the characters to life but only on the dance floor with energetic music and terrific choreography. If only the other scenes were just as lively and refreshing. Basically, it’s more entertaining to just listen to the soundtrack than to watch this painfully clichéd movie. Or, you can just go rent Flashdance or Save the Last Dance, far more entertaining films which also incorporate ballet dancing.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Other than the clichéd, over-simplistic message of believing in yourself while following your passion, there is nothing else spiritual to take away from this movie.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Too contrived and formulaic.


IN A NUTSHELL: Immensely entertaining dance sequences somewhat compensate for a contrived plot and a wooden performance by Channing Tatum.


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