Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Take - Step Up

My Take on the Movies
A Mini-Review of
By: A. L. “Toni” Anderson

Despite its lack of any appreciable pre-release advertising, I was privileged to view Step Up (2006) recently and found it to be a highly entertaining film, starring a cast of mostly unknown actors. The screenplay is written by Duane Adler (Save the Last Dance - 2001) and Melissa Rosenberg (The O.C.). It is Anne Fletcher’s directorial debut.

Channing Tatum (Coach Carter - 2005) is the lead as Tyler Gage, a delinquent teenaged foster child with plenty of heart and plenty of talent, mostly used in an unsuitable manner. His home life is typical of that of many in similar circumstances, and he consequently spends more time with his “crew” than at the apartment he shares with his overworked foster mother, her neglectful husband, and his adorable younger foster sister. His crew is composed of Damaine Radcliff (Glory Road - 2006) as Mac, and DeShawn Washington as Skinny, Mac’s younger brother.

Besides playing basketball, the crew’s only regular recreation consists of dancing at the club and stealing cars. When they are caught destroying property at the Maryland School of the Arts, Tyler is sentenced to community service at the school, and finds that he is finally in his element. Through perseverance, he is able to combine his skillful street dancing with the school’s more traditional dance program. He is offered the opportunity to participate in the choreography and dance a lead part in the senior project of the icy Nora (Jenna Dewan of Take the Lead - 2006), whose intended showcase partner suffers an injury at a critical point in time for all concerned. Tyler’s connection to Nora extends to far more than just the dance.

Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under) is Ms. Gordon, the crafty director of the MSA. Other significant parts are played by teen singer Mario (Let Me Love You - 2004), Drew Sidora (That’s So Raven), dancer Alyson Stoner (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody), and old school rapper Heavy D.

Although the story line is predictable, the main characters are so endearing that it can be forgiven. There is one somewhat shocking moment, even if not totally unexpected. There are no real plot surprises; what I did find surprising was how much I enjoyed the film. [1:38]

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

[© 08/16/2006]


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