YOU GOT SERVED
Elgin (Marques Houston) and David (Omari Grandberry) are the tightest of friends and head up the best breakdance crew in their district. When Elgin starts dating David's sister (Jennifer Freeman), and David gets into trouble with crime boss Emerald (Michael 'Bear' Taliferro), their friendship fractures right at the moment a dance competition comes to town offering the opportunity of a lifetime.
Review by Brad Green:
I saw this film on the last day of the Olympics and it didn't take long for me to realise that, for sheer spectacle, its dance sequences would eclipse any of the exertions in Athens. When you analyse it, Olympic competitors are remarkably good at what they do, but most of what they do involves running round and round, or swimming up and down, or trying to aim straight up and down. I heard one hapless reporter attempting radio commentary on the trap shoot. There's only so many ways you can say "hit" or "miss". If there's an exception, it's probably the gymnastics, and the breakdancing in this movie might be described as a perfect floor exercise meets Cirque de Soleil, channelling the footwork of Michael Flatley and the rhythm of Mr. Bojangles.
Because I'm allergic to music videos, and because there isn't a lot of spontaneous hip-hop street entertainment in my neighbourhood, the evolution in breakdancing has largely passed me by. It's still built on the hallmarks I recall from its first emergence in the mainstream in the early 1980s -- headspins and handstands performed to bass drum-heavy beats -- but the talent on show here is of Olympic proportions, and the routines include such creativity and theatricality that one imagines the choreographer as a funky, urban version of Marcel Marceau.
As might be anticipated, the drama of the dancing isn't matched by the drama itself. But there's a generous devotion of screen time to the former, and the screenplay displays no pretentions. It's a fairy story from the hood, with the amateur actors kept occupied between dance sequences by the trials of puppy love, and friendship lost and redeemed. The cliches abound from the tips of the dancers' designer sneakers to their spinning noggins, but whenever the cardboard characters get a chance to turn their limbs to rubber it's great entertainment. I didn't find the story any more or less wretched than the average action and violence extravaganza, and I'll take electrifying dance routines over choreographed thuggery any day of the week. Besides, while the dialogue isn't exactly Shakespearean, it's certainly more colourful than the Olympic trap shoot commentary.
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YOU GOT SERVED (PG)
CAST: Omarion, Marques Houston, Jennifer Freeman, J-Boog, Lil' Fizz, Raz B, Marty Dew, Jerome Jones
PRODUCER: Marcus Morton, Billy Pollina
DIRECTOR: Chris Stokes
SCRIPT: Chris Stokes
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Hennings
EDITOR: Earl Watson
MUSIC: Tyler Bates
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Maxine Shepard
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 30, 2004
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: December 30, 2004