Step Up 2 the Streets
Directed by Jon Chu. Starring Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Adam G. Sevani, Cassie Venture, Danielle Polanco, Mari Koda, Christopher Scott, Janelle Cambridge. (2008, PG-13, 98 min.)
REVIEWED By Josh Rosenblatt, Fri., Feb. 22, 2008
In case you weren’t aware, there’s an epidemic plaguing our cities. I’m not talking about escalating crime rates or dilapidated schools, rotting infrastructure or political corruption. I’m talking about the threat of wandering bands of teen guerilla dancers turning our subways and street corners into nightclubs and generally flouting our belief in the need for a society where honest, tax-paying citizens can walk the streets at night without being performed at against their wills by kids in baggy pants gyrating wildly, twisting their bodies into pretzels, sliding about on their heads, and wearing baseball caps at insolent angles. This, anyway, is the world presented by the producers of Step Up 2 the Streets, Hollywood’s latest exercise in redemption through midriff-baring and hip-hop cross-marketing. The film’s two heroes, Andie (Evigan) and Chase (Hoffman), are from opposite sides of the tracks: She is from the streets of Baltimore; he is the scion of upper-class, performing-arts-school royalty. Together, they’re out to show all the keep-it-real street kids and blowhard stuffed shirts that, in a world of struggle, the best way to achieve peace and tolerance is to dance, dance, dance! Step Up 2 the Streets (the sequel to 2006’s Step Up, which, by the way, was written by Duane Adler, who also wrote Save the Last Dance, salsa picture The Way She Moves, as well as Make It Happen, yet another movie, due later this year, about a teenager finding her soul in dance – I have no point; I just can’t believe one man is responsible for all these movies) is everything you’d expect it to be: inspirational, melodramatic, cliché-ridden, and accompanied by a soundtrack with enormous profit potential. Its only novelty comes in the form of those renegade dance troupes prowling the city, shocking the squares during rush hour, and making a mockery of society’s rules. I, for one, had no idea this was going on. In fact, I didn’t even realize that break dancing on the subway was illegal until I saw this movie. Now that I do, however, I’m coming down firmly on the side of law and order. Because if we don’t stop these public dance-offs here and now, before too long we’re going to have an entire generation of kids seeking salvation as backup dancers for Justin Timberlake.