Step Up Review

Aug 11, 2006 | 12:57pm EDT

Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) is on the fast track to nowhere living on the wrong side of the tracks in Baltimore and stealing cars. He also loves to dance a dream he figures he’ll never get a shot at. But after breaking into the local “rich kids” art school and trashing the theater department with his friend Mac (Damaine Radcliff) and Mac’s little tag-along brother Skinny (DeShawn Washington) Tyler gets a break. He takes the fall for the vandalism and receives community service to be served in full at the school. Darn the luck. Then Tyler meets Nora (Jenna Dewan) who is practicing for her senior dance showcase and has just lost her partner to an ankle injury. Instead of sweeping floors and taking out trash Tyler now has the opportunity of a lifetime. Natch. At first glance She's the Man’s Tatum doesn’t seem like your typical street dancer. Yet he really has a kind of quiet confidence to his moves plus an undeniable sensuality. His chemistry with Dewan (Take the Lead) is also quite palpable as the two move in sync--and not just on the dance floor if you get my drift. Providing some laughs is newcomer DeShawn Washington adding in colorful commentary while R&B singer Mario as Tyler’s only friend at the art school is surprisingly adequate handling the acting chores. Director Anne Fletcher is no stranger to the dancing having choreographed films such as The 40 Year-Old Virgin and The Longest Yard. With her first feature film effort Fletcher does a good job showing the differences between Tyler and Nora’s styles--his dangerous and street-wise hers safe and proper. With that the director also made it easy to root our young lovers. Sure Step Up isn’t rocket science. You basically know every er step they are going to make as it were. But the dancing is steamy and the young stars even steamier. In this day and age of TV reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance Step Up may even get you to sign up for a dance lesson.

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