Step Up (2006)
|Genre(s): Comedy / Drama / Musical / Romance|
|Touchstone || PG13 - 103 minutes - $29.99 || December 19, 2006|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-12-18|
Writer(s): Duane Adler (story), Duane Adler and Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay)
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Mario, Drew Sidora, Rachel Griffiths
Theatrical Release Date: August 11, 2006
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Plot Outline (from DVD back cover): Incredible dancing and awesome music fuel Step Up, starring Channing Tatum (Coach Carter) as Tyler Gage, a rough and streetwise hunk with raw talent. When Tyler finds himself doing community service at a school for the performing arts, he also finds Nora (Jenna Dewan), a beautiful and privileged classically trained dancer whoís searching for a temporary replacement for her injured dance partner. Nora decides to take a chance on him, but as they begin training, tension builds, tempers flair and the differences in their background explode.
A genre worse in the predictability department than romantic comedies is the dance genre. Save the Last Dance, Flashdance and Dirty Dancing, to name a few, all feature the main characters with a dream that inevitably winds up to a final dance-off that will make or break their entire life. So going in, I knew Step Up probably wouldnít be different. Although I was right, I found something about this movie that made me smile and really dig the music.
Step Up features a good-looking group of young actors like Channing Tatum, the beautiful Jenna Dewan (Take the Lead, The Grudge 2), Mario and a host of others that round out this MTV-generation flick. If youíre looking for stellar acting or half-decent writing, you wonít find it here. What you will get are great beats, nice choreography and an all around enjoyment for this movie.
Stars Channing Tatum (the swfully unfunny She's the Man) and Jenna Dewan, as I already mentioned, make attractive leads. The two didnít develop flaming chemistry and their characters do come across a bit off-putting, especially Tatum as a bad boy turned dancer, yet thereís a certain charisma that off sets everything.
There is one extremely contrived moment involving a character thatís used as a tool to move the story along quicker rather than actually doing some work with these characters. It is expected from the teen/dance genre to have those elements but the scene that unfolds comes across lazy than tragic, and way out of place over the previous hour and a half. However, this is a small thing and didnít detract from my enjoyment.
Director (and chorographer) Anne Fletcher makes her directorial debut, focusing on the dance moves rather than story, she puts forth the filmís strength of dance and music. This movie has one message of going after oneís dream and while thatís all well and good, there needed to be something more. Like a romantic comedy depends on the two leads to provide a spark, and in turn reason, to make it worthwhile, the dance film relies on the moves and beats. Despite issues with story and characters, Fletcher manages to bring the dance to the forefront.
This isnít going to be a dance classic anytime soon like Dirty Dancing or even, to a certain extent, Save the Last Dance, but with an attractive cast and songs from todayís hot singers like Ciara and Sean Paul, I found Step Up to be a fun movie. I donít know how often Iíll actually watch it, but for what it is, I canít complain too much.
Director, Choreographer & Stars Commentary - Director/choreographer Anne Fletcher, hip-hop choreographer Jamal Sims and stars Channing Tatum & Jenna Dewan provide a light-hearted commentary track from different locations. Tatum did his in Texas, Dewan in California and Fletcher and Sims both in Toronto. Thereís some stumbling over each other but they each give their perspective on making the movie, though most of it is spent laughing. If you like technical commentaries, this is not the one for you.
Step Up: Making the Moves (4:38) - Short, and pointless, making-of featurette that does nothing but show some scenes from the film intertwined with sound bites from the cast and crew. It doesnít go into much detail on the dance training the cast mustíve had to learn nor about much else about actually making the movie.
Deleted Scenes (4:12) - Seven scenes graciously chopped from the final film features mainly Channing Tatum. Couple of the scenes are extended shots of his checking out the school or why he doesnít ďgetĒ the school and another finds him in front of the judge to receive additional community service. Playable separately or all at once and has optional commentary from Fletcher.
Bloopers (1:35) - Standard collection of flubbed lines, ends with a funny bit. All too short however and not laugh out loud kind of funny, more chuckles than anything.
There are also 4 music videos, including the hit videos for Ciara (ďGet UpĒ) and Sean Paul (ď(When You Gonna) Give It Up MeĒ). Also included is a section on the Dance Contest with a segment on the actual contest (how to enter), judging the entries by Fletcher, Tatum, Dewan and Ciara, a montage of the contest videos as well as the winning videos and another link to the Ciara music video.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The movie looks in perfect order in its 2.35 OAR. Fletcherís attempts at displaying the city of Baltimore come across nicely on the small screen. The colors are vibrant but not so much to the extent of distraction.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 serves up the music nicely making good use of the speakers and sub-woofer alike. If you dig the movie as I did, you will be tempted to get up and dance with the music...
Iím not going to sit here and say Step Up is a great movie nor is it a very good one, but if you can appreciate the music and moves, then maybe youíll come to enjoy it. The DVD is decently packed with features, though none of them really amount to much in terms of quality. I have no problem in recommending a rental for this release and once itís available for previous viewing, then a purchase. Step Up has plenty of flaws but the music makes up for any shortcomings.