Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) is a rebel from the wrong side of Baltimore's tracks. After his latest brush with the law, he is sent to Maryland School of the Arts to serve his community service as janitor. There he meets prima ballerina Nora (Jenna Dewan), whose rehearsal partner has just sprained his ankle. When she notices Tyler's natural dancing ability, they begin to train together, with the permission of the school's principal (Rachel Griffiths). But pressures mount as their opposite backgrounds become evident, and both their futures hang in the balance.
Review by Louise Keller:
He's tall, muscly and looks more like a basketball player than a dancer. Channing Tatum charms the young mostly female target market as the homie rebel with the hip-hop rhythm in this easy-on-the-eye, if predictable romantic comedy. Set in the dance world at a performing arts school for talented, privileged students, the storyline brings elements from Fame, Save The Last Dance and 8 Mile, as talents are pursued, relationships are forged and dreams are realised. Choreographer turned director Anne Fletcher delivers a likeable film with a sweet heart, despite its improbable screenplay that tries hard to mesh together too many sub plots.
There's the strained relationship between Tatum's Tyler and his family, plus his friendship with his basketball buddy Mac (Damaine Radcliff) who is constantly sparring with his mischievous young brother Skinny (De'Shawn Washington). Nora (Jenna Dewan), who wears an assortment of fetching rehearsal gear from ripped tights to tiny shorts, flowing dresses and high heels, is having a battle convincing her mother that dancing has any merit. Meanwhile her ambitious, ratbag muso boyfriend Brett (Josh Henderson) discards friends as they outgrow their usefulness. Nora's best friend Lucy (Drew Sidora) is also having boyfriend problems, until she finally notices the admiring glances from Brett's former producer Miles (Mario).
Central to the plot is Tyler's realisation that he wants to dance when his 200 hours of community service as janitor opens a window into a world he never knew existed. Nora happens to be looking out of the window when Tyler is making dance moves in the carpark, prancing on and around Mac's car. All that is left is for Nora's rehearsal partner to conveniently sprain his ankle for the inevitable dancing partnership of opposites, where classic dance form and street rhythm make sweet music together.
It is a feel good romance and the dance sequences are especially appealing. If you ever thought that dancing was a little sissy, watch Tatum at work, in his overlong jeans, baggy t-shirt and back-to-front cap covering his Number Two hair cut. Rap and hip hop provide a lively musical combo.
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STEP UP (PG)
CAST: Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Damaine Radcliff, De'Shawn Washington, Mario, Drew Sidora, Rachel Griffiths, Josh Henderson
PRODUCER: Erik Feig, Jennifer Gibgot, Adam Shankman, Patrick Wachsberger
DIRECTOR: Anne Fletcher
SCRIPT: Duane Adler, Melissa Rosenberg
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Seresin
EDITOR: Nancy Richardson
MUSIC: Aaron Zigman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Shepherd Frankel
RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 28, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Video
VIDEO RELEASE: January 10, 2007