Step Up 3D
Directed by Jon Chu. Starring Rick Malambri, Adam G. Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stoner, Keith Stallworth, Kendra Andrews, Stephen Boss, Facundo Lombard, Joe Slaughter. (2010, PG-13, 107 min.)
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Aug. 6, 2010
Why are the Step Up movies so white? Consider the evidence: Six romantic leads over the course of three movies – well, to be fair, really the same movie with Mad Libs-like switch-outs in character motivation and setting of the final dance battle – and not a single above-the-line non-Caucasian in the bunch, even as a multiplicity of ethnicities fills in as backup dancers and in bit parts. Step Up 3D's male lead Malambri (inadvertently making the case for original Step Up star Channing Tatum as a maestro of emotiveness) plays Luke, den leader to a crew of dancers living, loving, and battling in an improbably well-appointed NYC warehouse. Malambri appears to have been cast for his Drakkar Noir good looks and little else – certainly not for his dancing, which is spotlighted in an enjoyable tango and nowhere else. Any other member of the Pirates crew would've been preferable to Malambri – they're a likable group, with personality to burn – but it's Sevani, a carryover from Step Up 2: The Streets, who steals the show. As the gangly misfit Moose, Sevani has the theatrical impishness of a court jester but the soul of a poet, and his playful duet with a gal pal (Stoner) – set on the streets, to a remix of Fred Astaire's "I Won't Dance" – is easily the most winning sequence in a film that has its fair share of gaspingly good dance moves. But the 3-D format is a distraction. Sure, it's nifty enough to see dust particles swirling or hands swooshing at you, but mostly the 3-D muddles the invention and exquisiteness of the film's raison d'être: the dancing.