Step Up: A Relationship Rite of Passage

This probably struck you as an interesting choice for a movie review before you even started reading it, so allow me to put it into context for you. I’m probably not the first guy who was asked to watch Step Up with his girlfriend, but I was probably one of the first guys who had to convince his girlfriend to watch Step Up with him.

My girlfriend is nice enough to watch a lot of comic book films and other nerdy stuff with me, so it’s only fair that I get enthusiastic about watching chick flicks with her. And maybe it’s because the reputation of this series has gone down the toilet thanks to numerous straight to DVD sequels, but she was REALLY hesitant to watch this with me. She was convinced that I would hate it. It took some prodding, but eventually she agreed. We watched it and the following exchange ensued.

Her: So did you hate it?

Me: No.

Her: Okay.

Alright, so maybe you had to be there. But I got the impression that she didn’t necessarily believe me and thought I was just being nice, so I’m doing this review for two reasons:

  1. Because she asked me to
  2. To prove once and for all that I didn’t hate Step Up. In fact, it’s probably one of the better chick flicks out there.

By now you’re rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, “Yeah right dude. Nice try, but you’re totally just trying to impress your girlfriend.” You’re not completely wrong. I am always trying to impress my girlfriend, at times to my own peril, but I digress. One thing I HATE about chick flicks is when they try to pretend that they’re going to be groundbreaking and unique, but really it’s just a convoluted mess of bad writing and acting disguised as something fresh. If you read my How to Be Single review, you know my feelings on this matter.

Step Up is the complete opposite. You know what you’re in for going in. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan are star-crossed lovers who wind up performing a dance routine together for Dewan’s senior showcase (they also got married in real life, which definitely is a cliche but hey, it’s pretty cute). At first they don’t get along at all despite the obvious attraction between them, then they start to connect despite the huge differences in their lives that set them apart. Her family’s rich but she and her mom aren’t close, his foster family is poor but he’s really tight with his foster sister. You know where I’m going with this, even if you haven’t seen it.

It’s important to point out that Step Up does feature some very slick dance numbers, and while that may be a detriment in the sequels, here they are utilized to drive the story rather than overshadow it. They are both extremely talented dancers and have a passion for it, but they don’t receive a lot of support from friends or family because of peer pressure and other complicated and silly reasons that teenagers have drama in their lives. So they have that in common even when they have nothing else.

I liked Step Up. It didn’t lie to me and pretend to be something it’s not. It entertained me and gave me a happy ending, even though it was one I’ve seen before. Sometimes it’s better to play it safe and give the audience something they’ll like.

And really, that’s all I could ask for.

Jesse’s Rating: B


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