'Step Up'

Borrowing heavily from predecessors like Fame and Save the Last Dance, choreographer- turned-director Anne "Mama" Fletcher has made a dance romance that might provoke the old Brooklyn disco king Tony Manero to grab a big hammer and go Italian-crazy on the plagiarists. Buff Channing Tatum, late of She's the Man, is a second-rate Eminem type from the seedy reaches of Baltimore, and his only outlet is busting a few moves. Pretty Jenna Dewan is the ambitious rich girl who needs a new dance partner for her senior showcase number. Bingo. When the raw meets the refined, art heals all wounds and romance blossoms—at least in this familiar vision of showbiz success. Fletcher ably blends ballet and hip-hop, but the filming itself is often clumsy, and Tatum's relentless African American impersonation quickly wears out its welcome.

 
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