By Dirk Sonniksen | August 5, 2010
Director: John Chu
Writer(s): Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer
Starring: Rick Malambri, Adam G. Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stoner, Keith Stallworth, Kendra Andrews, Stephen Boss, Martin, Lombard, Facundo Lombard
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could settle all of life’s trying issues with a really hot, glittery, dance war? I can picture it now: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Shimon Peres breaking amid throngs of cheering fans dressed in clothes oddly reminiscent of the 80s. There can only be one winner, and there will be much turmoil and joy throughout!
That’s basically how things roll in the freakishly annoying world of Step Up 3D. Meet Moose (Adam Sevani), a college student in New York City who suddenly becomes sidetracked in Central Park when he witnesses a dance off and becomes an unlikely contestant. Luke (Rick Malambri), a smokin’, stud-like fellow sees him and his moves and invites him to live at The Vault, a boarding house that doubles as a dance floor. Moose begins working with the Pirates, Luke’s dance posse, to compete in the ultimate dance contest. There are all kinds of other things that go on, like Luke meeting a girl, Moose torn between a bunch of stuff, and a lot of people dancing. Need I say more? No, I need not. But let’s continue anyway.
Step Up 3D features some of the most cliché gimmicks that one will have the misfortune to find in a film. From the incredibly cheesy lines to the love stories interspersed throughout to yes, even the dancing. Step Up plays like an episode of Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush, except the aforementioned series features better acting. I was anxiously awaiting someone who would save this train wreck, but alas, nothing could be done. If you’re willing to sit through Step Up just for the dancing, you have more patience than I.
As for Step Up being in 3D, it’s yet another trick to lure audiences into a film that would likely have been better suited as a cable special on The Disney Channel. Yes, there is a fair amount of dancing people that suddenly come at you, as if to say, “ok, jump out of your seats NOW,” but I didn’t jump; I just became frustrated. Indeed, 3D has become akin to laugh tracks, where audiences are prompted when to begin laughing. In this wondrous, technological age, hapless moviegoers are now told when to get excited; but you can’t enjoy that excitement unless you’re wearing your 3D glasses.
Back to reality and the cast. What comes to mind is a high school drama class where the head of the football team gets the lead. Enter Rick Malambri, a guy that needs to brush up on his come hither looks. Possibly Rick should do the majority of his own dancing if he’s in a dancing movie (yes, it’s that obvious). Adam Sevani, aka, Moose is possibly the only actor in Step Up that performs beyond the pallor of a really bad script. Martin Lombard and Facundo Lombard play the stereotypical foreign guys that just want to dance; unfortunately, the quasi Laurel and Hardy routine has already been done, and done…and done. Sorry guys.
While Step Up features some impressive dance sequences, the horrible plot, disastrous performances, and flat out sad script make this film a must-miss. Perhaps these sorts of films would fare much better if producers and directors relied less on a gimmicky device to lure in the crowds. In the case of Step Up 3D, director John Chu focused on the dancing, but let the rest slide to his detriment. In the future, perhaps a simple documentary highlighting the same sort of dance styles featured in the film might work? Sure, it’s been done before, but it would certainly garner more critical acclaim, and hey, the 3D might actually be worth it.