Having been a teenager until not so long ago, I was occupying a front row seat for many of dance movies that have found their way to the big screen over the last decade. In that time I’ve been considering whether or not I can respect a movie that boasts a rubbish story but really good dancing.
I’ve come to the conclusion that no – I bloody can’t.
It’s not acceptable for several of these dance movies to all have exactly the same plot (they need to raise money) as well as crap acting but be saved by their dance-floor acrobatics. The Red Shoes managed to produce enough skills to pay the bills in the acting and story department, as well as amazing dance sequences. Save The Last Dance did it as well, so what the hell happened to the rest of them?
Step Up 3D instantly lost my respect because it tries to cram in as many elements of Rent and West Side Story as it possibly can whilst trying to convince us that it’s really earnest and genuine. Dancers living in a loft together in New York? Check. Rivalry with another dance troupe? Check. Forbidden romance? Big fat check.
The biggest problem I had with Step Up 3D is that it’s main character Luke (Rick Malambri) – the leader of a group who live and dance together – is always trying to afford the roof over their heads. This would be fine if it looked like they were struggling for money even a tiny bit. They live in an amazing loft conversion with a huge dance studio, a wall covered in expensive sneakers and Luke has state of the art filming and editing equipment. Either they’re all hookers on the weekend or this is a huge oversight by the writers – I was kind of hoping it would be the former.
Luke is a boring main character who doesn’t look like he could lead the proverbial horse to water, let alone try and make it drink. The real centre piece is the young dancer Moose (Adam G. Sevani) from Step Up 2: The Streets, who has been forced into an engineering degree by his parents. Now Moose is struggling to keep his passion alive while juggling his studies and his friendship with childhood pal Camille. Unfortunately, he’s needlessly sidelined in favour of following Luke and his boring rivalry with the Samurai dance troupe leader, Julien.
Step Up 3D is shot with 3D cameras so the effect is actually worth the ticket price for once, as are the dance sequences, particularly the spectacular finale. The dancing and the extra dimension are the best things about the movie because the dialogue is flat, there’s little humour and the occasional giggle is unintentional. Get your friends together for an Orange Wednesay and give Step Up 3D a good mocking, it’s the only way to make the most of this film.