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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Step Up 2 The Streets

We all know what to expect from dance movies: silly plots in which good looking dancers battle lame 'urban' problems about 'keeping it real' and 'staying true to the street' while also rebelling against stuffy teachers - said battles and rebellions taking the form of insanely complicated dance routines. And so what? Every genre has it's cliches, and the important thing is whether they're handled well - which surprisingly, Step Up 2 for the most part does. There's no denying that the story - in which our sexy sweat pants wearing heroine is given one last chance to go straight by enrolling in the Baltimore Institute for the Arts, only to find that her ghetto dance crew doesn't fit in with her new life and her new life doesn't like the way she moves - is pretty silly. But the typical multi-racial 'crew' she puts together to battle at 'the streets' (an underground dance contest) is even sillier, including a hunky jock, an Asian stereotype bordering on the offensive, an amazingly nerdy guy (who ends up scoring the hottest chick in school) and a bunch of back-up dancers. Which is a welcome sign that this isn't taking itself too seriously. The dancing is pretty good, the tone is light and fun, and if you're a fan of amazingly brilliant US crime series set in Baltimore The Wire, then this film's Baltimore setting is gold on it's own. If only gay stick-up artist Omar and his shotgun had made a cameo...

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #422)

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