When Channing Met Jenna ...
Whilst Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) is a talented street dancer he is also a bad boy and when he along with his friends Mac (Damaine Radcliff) and Skinny (De'Shawn Washington) vandalize the stage at the Maryland School of Arts it is Tyler who gets caught in the act. Ordered to do community service at the school Tyler finds himself bewitched by ballet dancer Nora Clark (Jenna Dewan Tatum), watching her train for an important showcase. When her partner injures his ankle Nora needs to find a replacement and with no one able to do the lifts Tyler offers to help. The question is can Tyler commit to helping out as not only is he known for quitting he also has his friends to think about.
A bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, a beautiful girl with a talent for dance, an opportunity to be the best you can be whilst finding love all played out to music with a good beat. I could be discussing any number of dance movies but in this case I am on about "Step Up" which as of writing has had 4 sequels. Now there is nothing technically wrong with "Step Up", it delivers all those aspects you expect from a dance movie aimed at a much younger audience than myself but as I mentioned it features just the normal cliches which are the building blocks of so many of these dance movies. I suppose the one true special thing about "Step Up" is that Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan met whilst making this movie and married a few years later which kind of adds to the romance of it.
So there is a simple formula for a dance movie to work, it is; classical dance mixed with street + a romantic subplot + good music + good looking cast and that is what "Step Up" has. I may not be in the target market but I enjoyed the music which kept the story moving, the romantic subplot is nice because you can see affection and fun between Tatum and Dewan who look good and the crossover of ballet meets street is impressive to watch. But unless this is the only dance movie you have ever watched it is impossible not to spot the familiarity which also includes Tyler being a bad boy from the poor side of town and the chance to improve himself by proving himself.
And that is to be honest is it because whilst it all works there is nothing which makes "Step Up" any better than any other dance movie. I suppose the romantic subplot whilst a cliche is more believable because of the chemistry between Tatum and Dewan but that doesn't give you any major twist on a familiar plot. Having said that whilst Tatum and Dewan are the stars the supporting cast is good and the likes of Mario, Drew Sidora and Josh Henderson all play their parts well as does Alyson Stoner who plays Tyler's little sister.
What this all boils down to is that "Step Up" is a solid dance movie which delivers all the elements that a dance movie needs but it is nothing new and no more special than any other dance movie, hitting its peak with a final dance scene. The most special it gets is the fact that Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan met on this movie and ended up getting married.