The Cutting Edge on wood. A slick update of You Got Served. Whatever tiny box you want to slip Step Up into, and I have already heard a dozen of them, it will likely fit like a glove. With the seemingly endless procession of dance-themed pseudo-inspirational duds to come out in the past decade (undoubtedly sparked by the surprise success of Save the Last Dance), it was hard to go into Step Up with an open mind or any reasonable expectations for a good time. Working with a pedigree that reads like a Hollywood obituary (Honey, Take the Lead), director Anne Fletcher seems to have pulled off a minor miracle. With her guidance and background in professional choreography, Step Up is surprisingly…watchable. Now, I’m not saying every Beta should head down to the Movie House right now, not by any means. Remember the pedigree, folks. However, for its genre, Step Up hits all the right notes and keeps chugging along despite some questionable acting and left-field plot development. The momentum is maintained thanks in large part to a cast that clicks during the crucial hip-hop dance sequences. The real-life romance between Jenna Dewan (the serious dancer in need of a replacement partner) and Channing Tatum (the disadvantaged street rat and convenient move-buster) is a testament to their on-screen chemistry, which provides the heat for the dance scenes that steal the movie and keep the focus off of decidedly weaker subplots.
While not Oscar fodder, Step Up is mostly successful in achieving the modest goals the screenplay sets out for itself. Guys, while this is probably going to be a winner with Groove members, there are far worse date movies to find yourself at. If you keep your expectations in check and focus on the dance, you’ll likely find yourself walking away satisfied.