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Overall Rating

Awesome: 41.94%
Worth A Look: 6.45%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy: 3.23%

2 reviews, 19 user ratings

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Step Up 2 the Streets
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Amazingly, The Title Is Not The Worst Thing About It"
1 stars

A few weeks ago saw the release of “How She Move,” another in a seemingly endless spate of recent films to put forth the theory that there is no personal problem or romantic conflict in existence that cannot be settled or reconciled through a dance-off. Despite being part of a cinematic subgenre with such rigid conventions that late-night Skinemax movie seem like a font of narrative fluidity by comparison, it turned out to be a pretty good movie after all thanks to engaging characters and performances, a plot that was about more than who would win the big contest at the end and dance numbers that were filmed in a way so that you could actually see the performers doing their intricate move without burying them in an avalanche of rapid-fire editing and visual trickery. Apparently, these innovations didn’t appeal to the audience that usually flocks to this kind of movie and it quickly disappeared from theaters. (Of course, it probably didn’t help that the film was a victim of an indifferent ad campaign and a release date that placed it right against such hits as “Cloverfield,” “27 Dresses” and “Meet the Spartans.”) Well, for those of you who skipped that film because it offered something other than the usual mindless dance-related fluff, I would guess that “Step Up 2 The Streets” will be right up your alley. This is a heartless and brainless piece of product that is so utterly devoid of a genuine creative impulse or anything not concerned with the idea of separating 12-year-olds from their allowance that it makes the Hannah Montana infomercial/movie seem like “There Will Be Blood” by comparison

As the film opens, the subways of Baltimore are stricken by the highly choreographed antics of a mysterious group known as “The 410,” a gang of dancers who jump on train cars, burst out into intricate dance numbers that terrify/amuse/annoy commuters and then flee from the army of cops that inexplicably arrive on the scene to bring their toe-tapping terrorism to a halt. When their latest performance winds up shutting down the entire city mass transit system (in an overreaction that makes the panic in Boston over that “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” promo from last year seem restrained by comparison), troubled dancer Andie (Briana Evigan, a newcomer who looks like Rachel Leigh Cook, sounds like Demi Moore and possesses the DNA of the guy who played either B.J. or the Bear) is threatened with being shipped off to Texas to live with an aunt. Through circumstances that we will get to in a bit, her only way out is to enroll as this year’s token Troubled Student From the Streets at the Maryland School of the Arts. At her audition, her hip-hop moves appall the school’s new director (Will Kemp), a stuffed shirt who thinks that dance is about practice and discipline and all those other bummers, but star student Chase Collins (Robert Hoffman, who looks like a cross between a young Emilio Estevez and a young Jay Mohr that has been repeatedly smacked upside the head with a two-by-four), who just happens to be the director’s younger brother, is amazed by her moves (which is surprising since they aren’t anything that haven’t been seen in every other dance film in recent memory) and she is allowed to attend. (Presumably the deleted scenes section of the DVD will show us a glimpse of the student who spent untold hours rehearsing her traditional dance only to have her place taken by a wily upstart acting like a refugee from “You Got Served.”)

Needless to say, it isn’t an easy transition for Andie at first–those pesky students and teachers just don’t understand that she is a free spirit who won’t be contained by such outdated concepts as “training” or “discipline” and to make matters worse, her time at the school keeps her from rehearsing with her crew for an upcoming underground dance contest and she is kicked out of the group. Nevertheless, this is a girl who is filled with equal parts surliness and pluck and with the help of Chase, she forms a crew of her own made up of various school misfits with amazing talents that are inexplicably not being used. This doesn’t set well with either the school fuddy-duddies or her former comrade and they try to stop her from participating. At the same time, she and Chase begin to draw closer to each other, which is totally unexpected because they come from such different worlds, you know? Anyway, it all goes bad for a while–Chase is beaten up by the vengeful 410 leader, the school’s dance studio is trashed and Andie get expelled for bringing shame to the school by dabbling in street dancing. Even worse, when the notice for the big dance-off comes, it happens to be the exact same night as the big fund-raiser for the school where all the misfits have been pressed into service as waiters. I think you can pretty much fill in the blanks from this point on.

At this point, those of you who actually remember the original “Step Up” may be wondering how “Step Up 2 The Streets” can call itself a sequel when it is essentially nothing more than a straight-forward remake with a gender switch in the main roles as the sole difference of note. Well, it turns out that there is a kind of connection after all and that comes in the form of the brief appearance of Channing Tatum, the star of the original, early in the proceedings. It turns out that he and Andie are longtime pals and before he can go off “on tour in Europe” (presumably as part of an international “Up With Whitey” program), he shows up to serve as the sage voice of adult wisdom by offering to help her get into the school and when she refuses at first, he challenges her to a public dance-off with her enrollment being the cost if she loses. In other words, Tatum essentially serves the same purpose that Gary Coleman or Conrad Bain did when they would momentarily pop up in early episodes of the “Diff’rent Strokes” spinoffs “Hello Larry” and “The Facts of Life” in order to forge some ind of tenuous link between the newcomer and its already-popular forebearer. The fact that I am sitting here forging connections between this film and “Hello Larry” should give you some indication of just how gripping the enterprise is as a whole.

Nothing here works, not even on its avowed level of bubble headed bubblegum entertainment. The leads are attractive enough on a superficial level but they are so fundamentally bland that they can barely hold viewer attention even when they are the only people on the screen. The conflicts are tiresome (and are given an unpleasant racially tinged edge since the meanest people in the film, two of Andie’s former cronies, just happen to be the ones with the darkest skin), the resolutions are unlikely and the dialogue is so insipid that the most memorable line on display is when someone remarks “Clean this fish up!” (No, this is not a euphemism–there is actually a fish that needs to be cleaned up.) Even the dance sequences, the raison d’etre for a film like this, are curiously uninspired. Like most films of this type, they have been put so thoroughly through the post-production wringer with fancy editing and visual tricks that it is impossible to enjoy their artistry and when the dancers are allowed to be seen for more than a few seconds at a time, the moves they display don’t seem appreciably new or different from what we have seen in such past films as “You Got Served” or “Stomp the Yard.” The big finale is an especially big letdown because of the bizarre decision to stage it outside at night during a monsoon-level rainstorm–not even the sight of an increasingly sodden Briana Evigan can overcome the fact that the sequence is so dark and murky that it is virtually impossible to see any of the moves in enough detail to appreciate what is being achieved. To give the film a little bit of credit, I did appreciate the decision to include the old-school Digital Underground classic “Humpty Dance” on the soundtrack amid all the other indistinguishable musical fodder. Hearing it reminded me of that part in the infamously weird Dan Aykroyd joining “Nothing But Trouble” in which the group, including an impossibly young Tupac Shakur, popped up out of nowhere to crank out “Same Song” before vanishing just as quickly. The fact that I am sitting here forging connections between this film and “Nothing But Trouble” (which really should have been called by its original title, “Valkenvania,” if you ask me) should give you some indication of how gripping the enterprise is as a whole.

It could be argued, of course, that I am hardly the ideal viewer for a film like “Step Up 2 The Streets”–I am at least two decades removed from its target age demographic and as anyone who knows me can attest, my terpsichorean skills are so paltry that I am confident that I would lose in a dance-off against Jean-Dominique Bauby. Those facts may be true but they have not prevented me from liking any number of movies in the past about the world of dance ranging from such classics as “The Red Shoes” and “All That Jazz” to such recent winners as “Center Stage,” “Take the Lead” and the aforementioned “How She Move.” Of course, all those movies were made by people who demonstrated a genuine love for the world of dance while this one was made by people who are demonstrating nothing but a genuine love for the box-office receipts of the original “Step Up.” If you have seen and loved “The Red Shoes” and “All That Jazz,” there is absolutely no reason to waste your time, money or energy on “Step Up 2 The Streets.” Hell, if you have only heard about the existence of “The Red Shoes” of “All That Jazz,” you are probably sufficiently advanced in regards to taste to ensure that your presence at this film is not necessary.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16997&reviewer=389
originally posted: 02/15/08 17:36:24
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User Comments

5/15/08 paris peoples negatives towards this movie are not looked at bcz THIS FILM IS FAB!!! 5 stars
4/17/08 Shanna one of my favorite movies <3 5 stars
4/13/08 Amelia i luvvved this movie! best movie eva!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/31/08 Jasmina It was an awesome movie judging the dance, the story could have been better.. 5 stars
3/31/08 chrisztina i l0ve dis m0vie alsz0 BRIANA anD RobeRt ..=] 5 stars
3/26/08 Brandon Adams IM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS MOVIE 5 stars
3/19/08 wacky yoo this was and stil is the best movie ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/17/08 Courtney Rose awesome 5 stars
3/01/08 Nanci Torres I really likes this movies, i dont know why it got one stars, the moves were great. 5 stars
2/29/08 Nelma this movie was SICK! ive never seen such crazy ass moves like these dudes man 5 stars
2/28/08 Gungadin Mmmm. So it's either a one or a five star - seems to say more about the reviewers than the 4 stars
2/27/08 R.Y. I've never seen such utter crap on screen masquerading as a movie. 1 stars
2/17/08 blyskalp Very good 4 stars
2/17/08 Kelli Step Up 2 is the BEST!!! I feel in love with this movie 5 stars
2/15/08 Layla Really good!!! I liked the first one better, the guy was hotter 5 stars
2/15/08 BiGdAddYFRESH Yo man dis revuw was WHACK! I chalenge u to a dance offf!! 5 stars
2/15/08 Helicopter LAMBADA 5 has more "street cred" 1 stars
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  14-Feb-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Jul-2008



[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Jon M. Chu

Written by
  Toni Ann Johnson
  Karen Barna

  Briana Evigan
  Robert Hoffman
  Telisha Shaw
  Adam G. Sevani

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