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Film Viewers Commentary A Real Step Up Film News And Views - Film Viewers Commentary - A Real Step Up Film Viewers Commentary,,A Real Step Up,recommendation,shopping,advice,simple,movies,films,film news and views,news and views,film industy,movie reviews,film news,film,news,views,television,made for tv movies,interactive entertainment,hollywood,hollywood news,celebrity news,insiders perspective,film reviewer,watch film,film trailer,new releases,new release,new release movie,new release film,movie reviewer,opinion,viewpoint,forum,discussion
A Real Step Up

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by Jon Ochiai on Aug 30, 2006

8/10

"Step Up" is derivative, predictable, and formulaic. That being said, Director Anne Fletcher's hybrid classical hip-hop dance romance is completely arresting and thoroughly enjoyable. I was surprised how engaging the movie is. Within the first 20 minutes, you can predict the outcome. And ultimately, it does not matter—not in the least. What "Step Up" has going for it is a breakthrough star performance by Channing Tatum. Tatum plays delinquent high school student Tyler Gage, who happens to be a gifted street dancer. Tyler rolls with Mac Carter (Damaine Radcliff) and his little brother Skinny (De'Shawn Washington). After Tyler is caught vandalizing the Maryland School of the Arts, he must serve his community work sentence at the school. Tyler catches the eye of star ballerina Nora Clark (Jenna Dewan). She spies Tyler's dance display outside the school. Nora is in a lurch. She is preparing her senior dance piece, but her dance partner is injured. Dance company reps attend the Senior Show. Nora makes a deal with her Mom (Deirdre Lovejoy) that if she does not land with a dance company she will apply to Cornell University. For Nora dance is her life—what she lives for. Eventually, Nora strikes a deal with School Director Gordon (Rachel Griffiths) and Tyler. Gordon reluctantly agrees.

Tatum and Dewan have amazing chemistry as Tyler and Nora. Of course Nora has a self absorbed jerk boyfriend Brett (Josh Henderson), who is on the verge of signing a record deal with the collaboration of brilliant classical/ hip-hop composer Miles (recording star Mario). For the first time Tyler is able to see the greatness in himself. But like Mac reminds him, "You quit everything you start." So it is truly time for Tyler to be responsible for his life and risk being extraordinary. The "90210" and "Fame" trite melodrama aside, "Step Up" is inspiring and you cheer for Tyler and Nora. Even with the corn ball predictable story, "Step Up" is really about taking responsibility for one's own greatness—which is everyone's birth right.

"Step Up" has spectacular dancing be it ballet, hip-hop or hybrid. Jenna Dewan is a classically trained dancer. Channing Tatum is an awesome street dancer on screen. I checked on-line that Tatum is not a trained dancer—he a gifted athlete and martial artist. Tatum possesses a star quality and natural charisma. Tall and handsome he has great screen presence. Tatum plays basically a lug, but he is so charming and has great range. Whether he is playfully trading dance moves with his sister Camille (so cute Alyson Stoner) or fighting with a gang banger in a club he always comes across real. There is a truth about Tatum's performance. Though somewhat overshadowed, Jenna Dewan is winning and beguiling as Nora. Dewan captures Nora's passion and heart. She and Tatum have magical chemistry. That leverages against all the predictability inherent in "Step Up".

Anne Fletcher as both director and choreographer is amazing. The final dance number is killer. However, I found more compelling the training and creative sequences with Tyler and Nora. Dance is a great discipline and an art. Training and talent get you in the door. But art is all about the feel, passion, and creation. "Step Up" possesses this quality and there is such a joy present in this movie. The music is equally stunning and captivating with its blend of urban beats and classical orchestration.

The supporting cast is solid. Rachel Griffiths brings the right compassion and gravity as Director Gordon. Mario is natural and strong as composer Miles. Damaine Radcliff gives a street edge and authenticity to Mac. Lucy Avila is charming as Nora's friend Lucy.

"Step Up" is great fun at the movies. Channing Tatum is a going to be a big star. "Step Up" is a real step up.

  May 26, 2019

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