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Make It Happen

Movie title: Make it Happen (2008)
Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: PG-13
Summation: A small-town girl heads for the big city to fulfill her dreams of becoming a dancer.
Spoilers ahead: No

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In Make It Happen, a small-town girl pursues her dreams to become a dancer in the big city. In a very youth-oriented and girly fashion, we have an off-the-mark melodrama that falls short of “making it happen” in the drama competition. It's forgettable through-and-through. Lauryn (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is the star. She wants to make it big, but mom and dad died and left the body shop to be taken care of. In Lauren’s eyes, it’s the only link to mom and dad.

Lauryn is sharp. She’s a bookkeeper and good at her job, but she’s conflicted about moving to the city to get into a prestigious dance school. But the way is going to be littered with defeat. Can Lauryn succeed? I really don’t care!

A fascination with dance requires a low-output middle-aged sack of potatoes like myself to look back a long way to be able to relate to it. My days of having abundant energy waved “bye, bye” some time ago. When they were around, they were spent in me trying to kick like Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. I thought I was something, throwing around kicks, flurries of fast punches, and following through with smooth-but-useless martial arts maneuvers that did nothing but get my rear-end a good pounding at school. But thankfully, I grew up. It took me a while, but I made it.

Today, dance is the amped-up way to expend the bundled-up energy of youth. Ever since the martial arts/cheesy ninja obsessions of the 1980s died off, looking cool on stage has become the new thing. But I'll be honest; seeing girls be girls and groups of teens gyrating to beat-y music at clubs is repulsive to me. And the teen obsession to look “hot” with the best dance moves is a thing only a modern kid can really relate to. So if “dance-appeal” doesn't relate to you, then this movie won't (though I can't say I was impressed with the dancing either.)

Make It Happen captures very little genuine drama from the disappointments faced in chasing a dream. Flipping back between Lauryn’s more-than-friends relationship with a club's DJ and success dancing at the club while contending with a jealous dancer rival on stage – in addition to the internal struggle of pursuing her dancing career while the family shop back home goes under – Make it Happen doesn't do well when it comes to creating the tension of a struggle.

It's predictable and lacking in feeling. The acting is as shallow as everything else. Missing are real life details that go with life challenges. Only a little seems real, and I think many of the younger audiences will spot it too. But a lot of junior high girls will be watching this at slumber parties. The message is good. Try to pursue your dreams before life crushes them and you no longer want to do anything!

(JH)

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Director: Darren Grant
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead “Lauryn,” Tessa Thompson “Dana,” Riley Smith “Russ,” John Reardon “Joel,” Julissa Bermudez “Carmen,” Ashley Roberts “Brooke,” Karen LeBlanc “Brenda,” Matt Kippen “Wayne”
Genre: Drama

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