Let’s Talk About…Step Up Revolution
Kimberly: Sarah! Is there a better way to celebrate a Serious Movie Lover’s birthday than boozing/pizzaing it up, then going to St. Louis’s stickiest theater to see the latest addition to the dance battle canon? I think we both know the answer, and it involves “woos” and raising the roof. Step Up Revolution is the fourth iteration of the “hot guy of indeterminate age with twinkletoes meets girl, they salsa and develop feelings, outside forces intervene, they dance it out” series, and it did not disappoint. We’ve gone south to Miami, where all the dresses are microminis and the boys wear beach sneakers. There we meet Sean, who leads a crew of dancypants (“The Mob”) who flash mob (I know—stay with me, though) around the city and upload performance videos to YouTube. As is common practice on the internets, YouTube is giving $100,000 to the makers of the video that gets the most “clicks.” So those feets better move fancy! Sean meets Emily (who has the magnetism of Audrina from “The Hills,” and maybe not the neck, but the powerful thighs and ‘donk of a faded pop star), a poor little rich girl whose real estate developer father (Peter Gallagher, dream dad) threatens to tear down Sean’s indeterminately ethnic neighborhood. But plot is secondary here. Our leads may not be as magnetic as their forerunners, Tater and the Dew Dew (let’s just say I don’t see an afternoon of yachting with Clooney in their future), but these folks aren’t here to deliver dialogue, they’re here to break it down. The dance sequences, the protests in particular, are genuinely thrilling and take full advantage of the 3D spectacle (Dollar bills in the air! Sand in your face!) in a way that even a 3D hater like myself can enjoy. And for the longtime fans, Moose, really-good-at-the-robot guy (“Vladd” according to IMDb! This series just keeps giving), and Jenny make appearances during the final dance scene, which I don’t want to spoil, but involves shipping containers (try not to think about The Wire season 2), bungee parkour, and Sean/Emily doing a dance of love in front of Gallagher’s intense gaze—delightfully creepy!
In case you can’t tell, I’m into this film 110% (mathematically impossible). It made $11.8 million on its opening weekend—please, Jebus, let this be enough to justify Step Up 5 Below, which will take place in the land of polar bears and promote climate change awareness through snowshoe softshoe (©Kimberly McClelland).
So what do you think of Gallagher’s career rebirth as patriarchal figure in beloved B dance films (Center Stage, Burlesque)? Did you know that this was originally called Step Up 4: Miami Heat? Way to take advantage of the Occupy zeitgeist, producers! How about that tear-gas-into-the-audience dance? Eek! Timing! And finally, Mia Michaels. Discuss.
Grade: A + two distinguished salt-and-pepper eyebrows.
Sarah: Kimberly! Mia Michaels’ distractingly squinty-solemn performance aside, I cannot overstate my complete enjoyment of our viewing of this cinema classic as part of our boozy celebration of another year of you. My apologies to our fellow movie-goers for my enthusiastic commentary throughout, but it was simply impossible not to hoot with joy every 45 seconds or so. The plots of this (hopefully never-ending) franchise get more delightfully ridiculous with each installment. “A flash mob is our only chance to save the Goon Docks—oh I mean, barrio!” OK, sure! The actors’ deliveries and chemistry also seem to be inversely proportional to each film’s place in the series, but somehow that only adds to the fun. This is due, as you mentioned, to the dancing, which is no-joke-so-great. My sincere kahdooz to the choreographers. And in conclusion, Sandy Cohen. I rest my case.
Grade: A. Take that corporate greed!
Peeping your moves through my hidden baguette camera,
PS: See you in January, this movie!