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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 2.78%
Just Average: 9.72%
Pretty Crappy: 11.11%
Sucks: 34.72%

5 reviews, 42 user ratings

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Step Up
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Like "Stick It" without the gritty edge"
1 stars

A few weeks ago, Disney Studios announced that, as a cost-cutting measure, that they would be significantly cutting back on their yearly film output. This was greeted with a certain amount of derision–especially after the studio made about six zillion dollars this summer off of “Pirates of the Caribbean 2" and “Cars”–but having seen their latest offering, “Step Up,” I have to admit that it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all. This is a film that is so utterly derivative and empty-headed that even the core members of its target audience–12-year-old girls who have worn through their DVDs of “High School Musical”–are likely to slink away from it feeling profoundly ripped off.

The film tells the story of Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum), a tough-but-sensitive kid from the wrong side of the streets of Baltimore–the kind meant to suggest James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause” but who comes closer to evoking Vanilla Ice in “Cool as Ice.” One night, the big dope and his two buddies decide, for no apparent reason whatsoever, to break into a local arts academy and trash the joint. Needless to say, the cops arrive and Tyler allows himself to get busted so that his friends can get away. Thanks to one of those pesky activist judges that seems to be infiltrating silly teen movies these days–we’ve already had troubled teens sentenced to ballroom dancing (“Take the Lead”) and gymnastics training (“Step Up”)–he winds up getting sentenced to 200 hours of service at the very school that he junked.(Just so we don’t forget that it is a school for the arts, we are treated to a guided tour of the place in which every single student appears to be performing their particular field of study in the middle of the hallway.)

Once there, he meets Nora (Jenna Dewan), a privileged girl from the right side of the tracks who is busy putting together a dance piece for the upcoming big show that will decide her future. Alas, her partner winds up snapping his ankle and is unable to rehearse with her. When no other male dancer in the joint appears to be capable of lifting her into the air as the piece requires, Tyler inexplicably volunteers his services and Nora just as inexplicably accepts despite the minor setback of him not knowing any dance moves beyond the ones displayed ever Friday night by oafish white guys in lesser nightclubs. In a series of developments that are sure to come as a complete shock to viewers everywhere, the two find themselves increasingly attracted to each other despite coming from two separate worlds, then split apart when her original partner heals quicker than anticipated and she takes him back (even though all of the choreography has changed in the meantime) then come back together again just in time for the big show where their routine wins raves despite resembling nothing so much as a explosion during an audition for a road company production of “Rent.”

If you think that the above plot sounds boring beyond belief–an amalgam of “Fame,” “Center Stage,” “Save the Last Dance” and any other number of films–it is nothing compared to the sight of watching it unfold on the screen. The screenplay is nothing more than one cliche-choked scene after another–did it really require two screenwriters to come up with lines like “You quit everything you start”?–and director Anne Fletcher (a former choreographer making her directorial debut) fails to invest them with even trace levels of energy or excitement. I wouldn’t have even minded that so much if the dance sequences had any sort of life to them but they are just as dull and pedestrian as everything else on display. I wouldn’t have even minded that if the two stars demonstrated enough on-screen chemistry but while Dewan (whom you may remember as the sexy troubled teen in “Take the Lead” and the sexier, even more troubled teen in the goofball horror film “Tamara”) has a certain presence to her, Tatum (the other white meat from such films as “Supercross” and “She’s the Man”) is so colorless and uninteresting that they never wind up generating any sparks at all in their scenes together.

Upon reflection, I must admit that there is one surprise contained within the confines of “Step Up” and that is the presence of Rachel Griffiths, the quirky Australian actress who has turned in numerous memorable performances in things as varied as “Jude,” “Hilary and Jackie,” “Me, Myself and I,” “Blow” and “Six Feet Under.” Here, she plays the stern head of the school in a few scenes that even her sheer talent and professionalism are unable to elevate. The sight of a performer of her caliber appearing in D-level junk in order to make enough money for the next car payment is not especially surprising but for Griffiths’s sake, I can only hope that if she faces a similar choice in the future, she does the dignified thing–sell the car and begin taking public transportation.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14954&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/11/06 00:11:27
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User Comments

10/03/13 Trisha Wirt Freakin love this movie and Channing Tatum! Love his dancing! 5 stars
4/10/09 Dane Youssef One of the worst in the dance movie genre. Tatum's the anchor around the albatross. 1 stars
11/21/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
10/20/08 dfsaklbdfjks BEST FREAKIN MOVIE EVERRRRR! 5 stars
2/14/08 Kat This reviewer is an idiot. Awesome movie. 5 stars
2/01/08 ashina cool 5 stars
12/19/07 melanie best film ever 5 stars
11/18/07 The Russian Lunch Lady ZZZZZZZZZZZZ... huh, what? Sorry, I fell asleep. Lame movie. BAD! 1 stars
10/03/07 Abhishek Chakraborty This is a movie that only dumbass teenage chicks would like don't waste your time with this 1 stars
8/05/07 alex i loved the movie its mi fav so i hope u make another 5 stars
5/09/07 Mandee AWESOME i loved it 5 stars
4/26/07 Smith Jones III nice try 2 stars
4/02/07 Joyselyn Church It was the best movie i have seen in a very long time, I would watch it over and over!!! 5 stars
2/21/07 Beau Best dance movie in a decade, brilliant coreography and performances. cool music!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/03/07 cody a pretty good flick with cool music ,characters, and kick butt danicng . 3.5 stars not 4 3 stars
1/23/07 Kassie Allen I love this movie...Its A'mazing and the day it came out i bought it..i love it 5 stars
1/03/07 dancingrox You should have Anne Fletcher make a learn how to dance DVD i would totally buy it!You Rock 5 stars
12/24/06 Kronk Ok, if I see one more bad comment about this movie and I going to track that person down an 5 stars
12/23/06 Tessa To weird 1 stars
11/22/06 Kayleigh This film is da best itz great!!!!! I wanna no how to dance like that now !!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/13/06 ANiTa I love your movie and it really inspired me a lot..I LOVE IT! ! ! ! 5 stars
11/07/06 Biggest step up fan! OMG best eva dance movie!! the danicng is soo amazing! n wota wiked film! Tyler is so hot!! 5 stars
10/22/06 Jorgi3 its the best movie eva i would love to learn the dance moves and channing is so hot !!!!! 5 stars
10/22/06 Emma best dance movie I have ever seen 5 stars
10/16/06 Monique AWESOME movie... I love it!!! 5 stars
10/02/06 llllove awesome dancing, channing is hott 4 stars
10/02/06 Ken Ji id say, worst movie ever, worst dancing i have ever seen. 1 stars
10/01/06 Stanka this movie is the best dance moive which I´ve ever seen 5 stars
9/22/06 katsat Loosen up. I'm not young, but I had a fun time with it. Loved the dancing. 4 stars
9/05/06 linda awesome 5 stars
9/02/06 Derrick This was the best movie ever made 5 stars
8/21/06 Shelley A Step Down for Step Up 2 stars
8/20/06 Riki Tatum is surprisingly charming in this well-rounded movie 5 stars
8/19/06 Megen this movie friken rocks!!!! 5 stars
8/19/06 susie heart it was an amazing movie 5 stars
8/16/06 Harold When people purchase a ticket, they should immediately be shot in the face. 1 stars
8/15/06 Eddy Ka-Beddy<33 me and my friend love the movie and we want to marry Channing<33 5 stars
8/15/06 melanie i love this movie id love to learn the dance moves 5 stars
8/13/06 Sharon BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!! 5 stars
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  11-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Dec-2006



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