Now, I’m the first to admit that the Step Up movies are pure formula. Take a gritty/working class/inner city pretty young person and pair them with a hoity toity/rich/snobby/suburban pretty young person of the opposite sex, and have them fall in love because of their love for dancing. Just one of them is professionally trained, the other has to have learned it via their own gumption, preferably on the street with a cast of multi-ethnic friends. Put the two pretty kids together, and the combustion of polished and rough allows them to explode like a supernova of talent. At least, that is what we are meant to believe.
Despite the utter predictability of this formula, I’ve always found the Step Up movies to be a guilty pleasure because, simply put, the dancing is awesome. However, Step Up Revolution just didn’t do it for me.
I knew the movie was in trouble when the two soon-to-be-lovebirds meet cute at a beach party bar that is part of a fancy Miami hotel chain. Everyone is bumping and grinding on the floor, and it’s one of those, “Oh, you think you can dance? Well, watch me!” moments of the mating ritual. Rich girl Emily (Kathryn McCormick) shows Sean (Ryan Guzman) her stuff by locking eyes with him, then apparently having a seizure by snapping her head to the side and flailing an arm. She does this a second time, before turning around, grinding her ass in his crotch, then does the splits while throwing a handful of sand in his face. I just about spit up my Red Vines, exclaiming, “What the hell???” but to my surprise, Sean is all, “Wow! Where’d you learn such fine moves!” before performing some slightly less inexplicable convulsions in response.
Maybe the dancing in Step Up Revolution didn’t impress me as much as the previous films (though there are some good scenes, like the dancers overtaking a restaurant). Maybe the fact that the dancers were so earnest that their idea of dance flash mobs changing the political world seemed a little far reaching. Maybe there just weren’t any likeable and/or interesting characters this time around (for instance, Sean’s best friend Eddy is played by Misha Gabriel, who looks like Josh Hutcherson, but Josh Hutcherson having a toddler hissy fit of bromance jealousy through the whole story).
It was almost a relief to see the Miami kids call up a favor to some friends (aka some characters from the previous movie, like Moose) to show up in the finale dance scene. But it was too little too late. This was the first Step Up movie that I begrudgingly have to admit actually sucked.