Shut up and dance … please

Step Up 3D succeeds in dance but fails miserably in dialogue

Very few movies have made me feel embarrassed to be in the theater watching them. Except for the dancing, during Step Up 3D that’s exactly how I felt. Obviously this movie isn’t expected to be a cinematic masterpiece, but this is the third time around for the cliché franchise and they keep telling the same awful story with another slew of bad actors using lines like, “The World Jam is all I’ve got.”

The story follows Moose (Adam G. Sevani), a cool nerd who makes a pact with his girl BFF to study engineering at NYU. But—surprise, surprise—within five minutes he meets the leader and recruiter of the Pirates dance crew, Luke (Rick Malambri). Luke lures Moose into his secret lair where a bunch of talented, outcast dancers hang out. Another new recruit, Natalie (Sharni Vinson), falls for Luke but she’s got a family secret that breaks the crew apart.

Yet none of it really matters because the previous two movies make it painstakingly clear that they’re all going to come together for the finale and take first prize.

The acting is bad—really bad. The writing is even worse. They tried to throw in a plot twist but it fails because we don’t care a lick about these characters.

However there is a silver lining: About half the film is spent showcasing absolutely, positively, fantastically awesome dancing. And the 3-D ain’t so bad, either. In fact, the movie would be better on mute because the amount of emotion and passion seen and felt in the dancing is so much greater than any line these characters attempt to deliver.

Director Jon Chu paints spectacular, gritty dance battles. The costuming and props teams stole the show (think finger lasers). And the choreographers bring moves that have never been seen, making the dancing from the previous films look ancient. No doubt, dancing has never looked like this on screen.

If you love So You Think You Can Dance, you’ll love the dancing in this movie. But sadly, there is no fast-forward button in theaters to skip the rest. So unless the makers of this franchise plan on making a dance-only flick next time, they should just step down already.

Step Up 3D (PG-13) ★★☆☆☆