I suppose if the cliched, uplifting sports drama had a little cousin, it would be the cliched, uplifting dance drama. The latest entry is Stomp the Yard, or as I like to call it You Got Served the Last Step Up Footloose Dirty Flashdance 2: Electric Boogaloo (or Y.G.S.L.S.U.F.D.F.2.E.B for short). Actually, the best description might be that it,Aeos more like an extended version of Michael Jackson,Aeos ,AeuBeat It,Aeu video, but with less red leather and more believable gang violence. It would be simple to say this film has ripped off the numerous films that feature dance as a major plot point, but that would be forgetting that those movies are already full of chestnuts ripped from other overused genres. It,Aeos for this reason that there is nothing surprising in the film whatsoever, and that it is so by the book that it,Aeos nearly embarrassing. Will young DJ (Columbus Short, Accepted) overcome his shady past and learn what it,Aeos like to become unselfish? Will he win the heart of April (Meagan Good, Waist Deep), and overcome interference from her father? Will DJ,Aeos fraternity win the step championship? If you,Aeore not sure how to answer any of these questions, please watch more movies.
Of course, with a movie like Stomp the Yard, the appeal is not intended to be in the plot or necessarily in the performances, but rather in the dance sequences. Overall, the direction in these sequences is fairly slick, but is mostly just a jumble of quick cuts and shaky camera work. Since dance is the film,Aeos main draw, it,Aeos unfortunate that this aspect of the movie wears out its welcome pretty quickly. Many of the moves get really repetitive really fast (not to mention that the idea of finding offense in someone dancing directly in front of you, or the notion that joining a fraternity is the only way one can become successful, both seem a bit silly).
The story follows DJ, a dancer who partakes in underground dance battles (yes, I said underground dance battles) until one goes awry and his brother (pop singer Chris Brown) is shot to death. DJ is then carted off to his aunt and uncle in Atlanta and enrolled at Truth University, where he soon learns about the importance of Greek life and the their traditions involving step dancing. Of course, being the talented hoofer that he is, DJ is soon being recruited by two rival fraternities, despite the fact that his unorthodox street style is at odds with their strict traditions.
Seeing how I felt a bit ridiculous just typing that last paragraph, it,Aeos amazing the film is able to keep such a straight face. No one seems to see the absurdity in any of it, and in not seeing the absurdity, the film makes its best case for actually working. There,Aeos nothing wrong with its message or its intent, but in the end, as filmmaking, Stomp the Yard just ends up being more January filler.
Rated PG-13 for a scene of violence, some sexual material and language.
â reviewed by Justin Souther