WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
With so many flicks in the dance genre from classics like Flashdance and Fame to more recent entries like Step Up Save the Last Dance and Stomp the Yard as well as numerous popular TV dance competitions the Wayans Brothers are right in thinking there’s material ripe for riffing here. So in Dance Flick we get a young street dancer Thomas Uncles (get it?) who meets a gorgeous white chick named Megan White (get it?) and they team up for the ultimate in dance-offs as they become part of a “crew” that battles the baddies to take the title and repay Thomas’ debt to Sugar Bear an enormous loan shark and drug lord.
WHO’S IN IT?
In the lead roles of Thomas and Megan Damon Wayans Jr. and Shoshana Bush are naturals in the comedy department — if not exactly convincing as dance champs. Most of Dance Flick’s laughs come courtesy of the supporting players particularly Essence Atkins as Megan’s confidante and Amy Sedaris (TV’s Strangers With Candy) as a teacher who likes to verbally torment her students while wearing extremely tight and revealing pants. The rest of the film is swarming with stereotypes including Brennan Hillard doing a gay take-off on Zac Efron’s High School Musical character (including a swishy production number to the tune of Fame); Chelsea Makela as the compact and chubby Tracy Transfat (lifted directly from Hairspray’s energetic teenage lead) and Affion Crockett as A-Con a guy who aspires to be a criminal when he’s not getting all jiggy. Then of course there is the bitchy adversary for Megan played to the hilt by Christina Murphy. Best of all is the imposing Sugar Bear played by In Living Color vet David Alan Grier in a 400-pound fat suit who first does a send-up of Jennifer Hudson’s showstopping number from Dreamgirls “And I Am Telling You ” then later tops that with a killer spotlight dance in the big competition sequence. In addition to Damon Jr. we counted nine additional Wayans in various cameos.
The actual dance numbers including the big two that bookend the film are hilarious over-the-top and cleverly choreographed for ultimate comedic impact. The special effects and stunt teams clearly worked overtime on some of these moves. Sporadic moments of witty invention come along in between those set pieces but the jokes are stale and uninspired for the most part.
Clearly director Damien Wayans and his all-Wayans writing and producing team (Keenan Ivory Marlon Shawn and Craig) cracked themselves up when creating these gags but the hit-to-miss ratio is about to two-to-one on the negative side. And by the time the endlessly padded slow-motion end credits roll after just 75 minutes of this stuff the spoof has completely run out of gas resorting to lame gags about non-dance flicks like Twilight and the Samuel L. Jackson flop Black Snake Moan.
BEST SUPPORTING WAYANS?
Hands-down the small comic gems that work best all belong to Shawn Wayans as Baby Daddy who is easily the worst father in cinema history. His bits rock.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Netflix. Rent it and fast forward through the really REALLY dumb stuff to get to the really dumb stuff quicker.