"Style Over Substance"
What You Need To Know:
The dance scenes in STEP UP are often impressive and entertaining, but the movie also contains many elements afflicting teen romance movies. These include a shallow and predictable plot, uninteresting stock characters, and a preference for style over substance. Although the movie contains some suggestive dancing and innuendo, it is free of explicit sexual content and has several redemptive elements. The movie also has a light Romantic worldview emphasizing the importance for people to follow their hearts. MOVIEGUIDE® therefore advises extreme caution.
(Ro, B, C, LL, VV, S, N, A, MM) Light Romantic worldview emphasizing the importance of following one’s heart with mild moral elements of redemption and hard work as well as a brief depiction of a priest conducting a funeral; 15 light obscenities and five light profanities; moderate violence includes several fighting scenes and a boy is shown bleeding after he has been shot; no sex, although a few scenes depict teenagers kissing and several other scenes of sexually provocative dancing; brief naturalistic upper male nudity in a few scenes; light alcohol use is depicted in a couple of scenes and one character is said to have an drinking problem; no smoking or drug use; and, several scenes of vandalism, theft and snobby behavior.
STEP UP is a drama about a teenage vandal inspired to change his life after being exposed to the art of dancing.
Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) is a rebel from the poor side of the tracks in Baltimore. After a night of partying, Tyler is caught vandalizing property at the Maryland School of the Arts, an elitist school for rich youth. As punishment, a judge sentences him to perform community service at the same school he wrecked. The privileged art students soon notice Tyler mopping floors, and they learn he is the hoodlum that trashed their school. They are unaware, however, that he happens to be a very gifted, albeit untrained, dancer.
One day, ballet student Nora (Jenna Dewan) notices Tyler dancing in the parking lot, and is shocked to discover how naturally talented he is. When her dance partner for her upcoming senior showcase is injured, she must find a replacement quickly. Despite her reservations, she begrudgingly asks Tyler to rehearse with her. They gel quickly as dance partners and sparks begin to fly between them. These circumstances force them to deal with a number of issues regarding their future hopes and dreams.
From the opening credits, it is clear that STEP UP is targeting an audience raised on MTV and teeny-bopper magazines. Given that it’s a teen movie about dancing, it should come as no surprise that it plays like a long music video. Directed by accomplished choreographer Anne Fletcher, the dance scenes are often impressive and entertaining. Unfortunately, the movie also contains many of the elements that afflict teen romance movies, including a shallow and predictable plot, uninteresting stock characters, and an obvious preference for style over substance.
Although the movie contains some suggestive dancing and innuendo, it is free of sexual content and alcohol abuse. Acts of vandalizing, theft, and mild violence are depicted, but they are clearly condemned. The movie also has several redemptive elements. On the other hand, the movie has a light Romantic worldview emphasizing the importance for people to follow their hearts, which can be a dangerous message. All in all, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.