Look out, 1 percent; you’re about to get served. The popping and locking heroes of this fourth Step Up movie (the second in 3-D) speak truth to power the only way they know how: by busting hot dance moves in the face of stuffy old white guys. Introduced like the members of a heist squad—everyone has a special skill, ranging from parkour to remixing—these guerrilla performers invade public and private spaces, staging synchronized routines on escalators and restaurant tables. Initially in it for the YouTube hits, the aptly named Mob gains a spark of righteous discontent from a classically trained ringer (Kathryn McCormick). “It’s not okay to make art for fun anymore,” she chirps, rallying the troops to take on her real-estate mogul father (Peter Gallagher), who has the very ’80s-teen-comedy plan to tear down a cozy Miami neighborhood and erect high-rise condos in its place.
The film’s appropriation of Occupy sentiments is cynical, especially given the role Nike plays in the feel-good finale. The plot, too, is pure boilerplate, with the filmmakers concocting a generic romance between McCormick’s preachy rich girl and Ryan Guzman’s hunky poor boy. Yet the draw of this franchise has always been its fancy footwork, and the set pieces here—stuttering, herky-jerky spectacles of impassioned movement—are pretty extraordinary. The climactic number suggests a stereoscopic, MTV-sanctioned remake of An American in Paris; unresolved conflicts magically resolve themselves through expert choreography. Why protest?
By AA Dowd on August 03 2012 4.19am