Get off your ass and put on your dancing shoes. It’s time to stomp on two dance movies from 2006. First up on the stage is “Step Up,” which grooves its way into a familiar scenario of a would-be romance between two people from different worlds. Channing Tatum plays Tyler, a Baltimore punkass who breaks into an arts school with friends and vandalizes the place. Unfortunately, he’s the only one caught and is ordered to do hours of school service. Meanwhile, Nora( Jenna Dewan), a classically trained dancing student, finds herself solo when her dancing partner is injured. And surprise, surprise, she has nobody to team up with other than Tyler, who lends some hip hop moves of his own to her repertoire.

There are only two things that are going for in “Step Up”: Channing Tatum and the dance scenes. Tatum is proving a natural actor, somehow overcoming the typecast roles of jock/thug as he has done in “She’s the Man” and “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.” He is convincing in both being shy and hard-edged. But of course, this talent will go unnoticed, since he’s mainly seen as a hunky piece of meat by carnivorous female fans. The dance scenes are particularly exuberant. I won’t bother describing further because you can see it for yourself in YouTube.

Pretty cool, huh. It seems like more time was spent on the choreography rather the story, which is so contrived that I got so dizzy because my eyes couldn’t stop rolling. Sure enough, on the big night of performance, there’s a ridiculous “suspense” of “will he or not show up?” It was so suspenseful that I was on the edge of the seat, oh so close from abandoning the film altogether.

(to be continued in Part 2 with “Take the Lead”)

Grade: D

Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Rachel Griffiths, Damaine Radcliff, Drew Sidora, Josh Henderson, De’Shawn Washington, Mario, and Heavy D
Screenplay by
Duane Adler
Melissa Rosenberg
Directed by
Anne Fletcher
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, brief violence and innuendo