Step Up (PG)
ANDREW CLARKE Step Up comes from the “Let's Make A Musical” school of film-making, where a group of talented youngsters can come together and make magic with a minimum of rehearsal.
Step Up comes from the “Let's Make A Musical” school of film-making, where a group of talented youngsters can come together and make magic with a minimum of rehearsal. Watching a group of youngsters come together, wrestling with their talent and emotions for one another, it's almost like watching an episode of Fame.
In fact the film bears more than a passing resemblance to a number of recent films including Take The Lead with Antionio Banderas, Honey with Jessica Alba but mostly Save The Last Dance (penned by Step Up screenwriter Duane Adler).
While all the films show how dance, particularly street dance, can liberate the poor - Step Up and Save The Last Dance both place a talented street dancer in the disciplined world of classical dance and how both worlds inform the other to both parties benefit.
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It's a world where tolerance and understanding overcomes prejudice both in and out of the dance studio. While it's good to look at and provides a commendable tale, the story never comes across as being particularly real.
The people are so talented, it seems they can stage career-making performances with hardly a rehearsal.
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This is director Anne Fletcher's first film - she is a leading Hollywood choreographer - and it is undoubtedly perfect subject matter for her. Both Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum are very charismatic performers and it largely due to their presence and some terrific dancing that keep you tied in to this slim storyline.
Tatum plays an adopted high school drop out who is caught trashing the stage area of this school for the performing arts. The juvenile judge gives him 200 hours' community service to be performed at the school. From his step ladder washing the windows he spots Nora, a senior year dancer preparing for her end of year showcase. When her partner suffers an injury she needs a new partner and would you guess, Tyler (Tatum) is an experienced street dancer and fills the slot.
There are a few ups and downs on the way, but Nora's dancing gains a street-wise edge and Tyler learns discipline. It's a very moral story and of course romance rears its head. It's a sweet, not particularly believable story, but I'm sure it will find a ready audience. But don't expect it to remain long in your memory.