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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.15%
Worth A Look: 3.03%
Just Average39.39%
Pretty Crappy: 21.21%
Sucks: 21.21%

4 reviews, 9 user ratings

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Step Up 3D
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by Peter Sobczynski

"FInally, This Generation's "Electric Boogaloo"
3 stars

In attempting to review “Step Up 3D,” I find myself in the borderline ridiculous position of attempting to apply rigid and thoughtful critical standards to a film that stands in cheerful defiance to such things. On the one hand, it is without a doubt one of the most profoundly silly and idiotic films that I have ever seen in my life; the acting is terrible, the dialogue is work and even by the generally shabby standards of the cinematic subgenre that posits that there is no problem in the world that cannot be solved with a dance-off, the storyline is an incoherent jumble of plot holes, faulty logic and sheer insanity that makes one long for the narrative glories of “Krush Groove.” On the other hand, the sheer stupidity on display in virtually every scene has an oddly disarming charm and energy to it and more importantly, the two elements that anyone with any actual interest in seeing the film actually cares about--the dance sequences and the 3D cinematography--are deployed with surprising effectiveness. Therefore, do I spend the entire review snarking on all the dumb stuff while ignoring the fact that it sort of maintained my interest throughout--if only to see how much more ridiculous it might get--or do I do the opposite? Perhaps by the end of this review, I will have finally made a decision but bear in mind, this is the same guy who was one of the few people to be kind of forgiving to something as admittedly insane as “Jonah Hex” a few weeks ago.

Shifting locale from Baltimore to the streets of New York, “Step Up 3D” opens as platonic best friends Moose (Adam G. Sevani) and Camille (Alyson Stoner), barely-remembered refugees from the previous installments pressed into service as connective tissue so as to avoid paying Channing Tatum’s quote for even a brief cameo this time around, arrive at NYU so that he can study engineering and put all that dance nonsense aside and she can sit around and mope because he doesn’t recognize that she clearly likes him as more than just a friend. Of course, they are barely on campus for five moments when Moose unexpectedly finds himself in the middle of a dance-off against Kid Darkness, a hoofer for a sinister dance group known as The Samurai. (Alas, there is no scene featuring him out in the burbs that would allow me to make a joke about the Darkness on the edge of town--wait, I just did.) His moves catch the eye of Luke (Rick Malambri), a hunk-of-all-trades who has his own army of street dancers, known as the Pirates, who train and live at a warehouse facility that he owns while serving as the subjects of a documentary that he is aimlessly noodling on. Considering the fact that this property is large enough to make Donald Trump himself weep with envy, you might wonder how a dance collective with massive expenses (including rooms filled with vintage boom boxes, shoes and enough editing equipment to handle at least one Terrence Malick film) and no visible means of support can hold on to such a prime piece of real estate. Well, as Luke informs us, “We run a club downstairs to make ends meet.”

Alas, the gang has apparently forgotten to charge a cover because while the place is jam-packed the one time we see it in action, Luke is five months behind in the rent and the building is about to be seized and put up for auction. Worse yet, it may wind up falling into the hands of the hated Julian (Joe Slaughter), who used to be a Pirate and Luke’s best friend but now is the leader of the Samurais and will do anything to crush his rival. Luckily, the world’s biggest underground dance contest is right around the corner and if the Pirates can win two qualifying rounds and the finale, they will win the $100,000 prize which should allow them to keep the building for another week or so. Will Luke and the Pirates be able to overcome adversity and save their hangout? Will the budding romance between Luke and hottie dancer Natalie (Sharni Vinson) flourish or will it be done in by a shocking betrayal. Will the budding romance between Moose and the doormat flourish or will it be done in by the fact that he continually forgets that she even exists? Will the hated Julian get his eventually come-uppance or will his devious plans actually succeed. I wouldn’t dream of revealing the answers to these questions but I will tell you that they somehow all get resolved during the big final dance-off, an oh-so-edgy affair that nevertheless features more product placement than a NASCAR race and contains enough neon lighting to make it seem like a subliminal advertisement for Disney’s upcoming “Tron” sequel.

As I said earlier, “Step Up 3D” really is one of the dumbest movies ever made. The screenplay takes the basic premise of “Rent” and somehow manages to make it even more idiotic and one-dimensional by jam-packing it with as many cliché situations as can be shoehorned into 97 minutes of screen time and the result is so dopey that it makes “Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo“ seem like “Inception“ by comparison. The dialogue is so relentlessly corny that even the kids who are the film’s target audience are likely to laugh derisively at such pseudo-profundities as “Everybody here knows what it is like to be a nomad” The acting is pretty much horrendous all the way around and while I realize that these people were presumably cast more for their terpsichorean talents that their thespic abilities, they are so amazingly bad that they make Shabba-Doo and Boogaloo Shrimp look like DeNiro and Keitel in “Mean Streets” by comparison. The wall-to-wall soundtrack consists of one indistinguishable hip-hop tune after another and while the kids may get a kick out of such stuff, older viewers are likely to look upon the moment when Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” appears during a game of “Rock Band” as a brief oasis of quiet dignity amidst all the sub-Black Eyed Peas nonsense that otherwise dominates the proceedings.

However, most viewers are likely to forgive or at least overlook these flaws to a certain extent. For one thing, while it may be idiotic, it is a cheerful and unforced kind of idiocy that has a strange charm to it after a while--it is simply too adorably fuzzy-headed and innocuous to work up any real anger over. More importantly, when “Step Up 3D” gets around to its reason for existing--presenting elaborate dance sequences in the magic of 3D--it is genuinely impressive. Director Jon Chu and the army of choreographers at his disposal do a very impressive job of staging their production numbers in ways that are always visually interesting and filled with high energy and excitement. Although most of the numbers involve the usual jumping and jerking and whatnot so common to hip-hop (including gratuitous use of The Robot), the film throws in a couple of unexpectedly winning change-ups in an elaborate tango at a masked ball and a Fred Astaire homage staged on the streets of New York in what appears to be a single extended take that is one of the more inspired bits of screen choreography to come along in a long time. And while I have been grumping about the general uselessness of 3D for a while now, I must admit that it looks better than any other 3D film since “Avatar” and it uses it so effectively during the dance sequences that I was even willing to forgive its more gratuitous deployments, such as a silly moment in which the characters use straws to blow their Slurpees into the audience.

In the end, I suppose that I cannot in good conscience actually suggest that you go out of your way to spend you hard-earned money on seeing “Step Up 3D”--the good stuff and the stupid stuff pretty much cancel each other out and while I did have fun while watching it, I can’t say for sure if I would have been quite so forgiving if I had actually paid to see it, especially with the extra 3D surcharge thrown into the ticket price. However, as bubble-brained entertainment goes, it has a certain charm to it and I certainly was never bored while watching it. In other words, while there is no earthly reason for you to go see it if you aren‘t a 12-year-old girl, those of you who don’t fit into that category who do wind up checking it out for whatever reason may find themselves developing the same kind of odd affection for it that I did. Besides, unless there is a very strange musical version of “Farewell My Lovely” on the horizon, this is likely the only chance you will ever have to see a film with an end credit for “Moose Dance Doubles.”

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19939&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/06/10 17:31:59
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User Comments

2/06/14 rlLHMfHJ LTTDNxPcXI 2 stars
6/12/12 laura cooke yea step up is really awsome!!!!! 5 stars
12/13/11 cr Better than part 2, moose is awesome , good story and kick butt dancing. 4 stars
3/20/11 Shantrice Jones omg this moveis so great i cant wait to step up 4 cum out...like real t.. 5 stars
8/28/10 Kermit Crissey Not bad, Dancing scenes were very good 3 stars
8/15/10 Moose(I was in this so called Crap movie) Fuck you for dissing a god film, your a film critic you do know thats a pathetic job. 5 stars
8/12/10 araf its a good movie 5 stars
8/11/10 kaylon its class cool exciting unbelieveable 5 stars
8/07/10 Ronald Holst AURG HELP ME I AM SNEAKING IN CRAP 1 stars
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  06-Aug-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 21-Dec-2010


  DVD: 21-Dec-2010

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