But the plot, predictable as it is, is comforting because it's so familiar. It provides a reliable framework for a movie about an under-the-radar cultural trend - in this case the less famous tradition of the rhythm-based step-dancing.
From Footloose to Step Up, tensions and triumphs in these sorts of movies are always played out through the medium of dance. So DJ learns temperance and strategy from his middle class university peers (and his uptown girl) while they learn to loosen up and discover their wild side, thereby breaking out of the militaristic traditions of Step to do something bigger and better. Yawn! Cliché! Class conflict! Slo-mo! But that's how this story always goes. Don't fight it, just get in line.
Great, or grating?
The "talky" bits of are less convincing. Why does DJ fall in love - from across the room - with April (Megan Good), who appears to be both a bit thick, and no hotter the numerous other hot girls in the film? The slow, sappy rhythms of the love story seem completely alien to the risky, thudding, heart-stoppingly good dance sequences.
So you're alternately choking on your popcorn in amazement, or giving yourself salt poisoning out of pure boredom while praying that the scene you're watching is headed for the dance-floor. Any excuse to get that action back on will do, and the dance scenes are sexier than the bedroom scenes by far.
Still, don't be tempted to see this on DVD. If you're a dance movie fan of any kind, Stomp the Yard will blow you away on the big screen, even if it takes some patience to survive the girly bits.
- Jean Barker
A mash-up of every dance and college movie ever made - babes, brawling, unbelievable endings - the lot. But you just gotta see this dancing.
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