Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Step Up 3D - 1/2*

Step Up 3D banks just about everything on the assumption that team-choreographed-street-break-dancing is, like, pretty much the coolest thing ever. It's not. Not really. Not even in 3D. In fact, 3D might even make it worse, especially considering the rest of the movie gives absolutely no reason to utilize the technology; it opens with, and features throughout, a montage of footage that a guy is shooting on a handheld camera and any of the non-dancing is shot in close-ups.

There is one good scene, a Singin' in the Rain-like dance sequence set to a remixed ice-cream truck jingle that took me by surprise, but it's probably the only part of Step Up 3D that even approaches any real style or quality. The rest is indescribably abysmal, revolving around a dance-feud between the good guys, who inhabit a house for awesome break-dancers that is about to be repossessed by the bank, and the bad guys, who are led by a former good guy bent on revenge against them after getting kicked out of the house due to gambling problems which motivated him to throw a major dance competition. It all plays out like a series of last-minute revisions and improvisations, with no attention paid to how moment impacts a scene, or how that scene impacts the movie as a whole. Characters say exactly what they're feeling, and seem to only be able to think in cliche: "What are you doing up on the roof this late?" "I like to come up here, and just listen to the sounds of the city, you know..." Though I will give someone credit because I would have sworn he was going to say that he goes up there sometimes... to think. Bravo, though it's probably safe to assume that the actor just botched the line. Another thing I would almost describe as impressively obnoxious is the tendency for characters to react to anything they see. There is a subplot that is started after the Camera Guy shows his footage to his Future Girlfriend... they're walking down the street the next day and she sees a poster on a telephone pole for California Film School and says he should apply: "You need to take risks! That film school sounds amazing!" Apparently that's all it takes to make a decision... "I saw a poster so it must be good!" I call this impressive because it actually makes me want to see more of these characters' daily lives and how they go about being influenced by every goddamn sign they see as they walk down the street in fucking New York City. But that's what the movie's all about: creating nonsensical feel-good moments in between epic dance battles. Oh, and later on, after the good guys win the world championship, Future Girlfriend leaves Camera Guy a package which turns out to be an acceptance letter from that film school. She applied for him and they sent the letter to her, apparently. Not to spoil it or anything.

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