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Flicking Off Dance Flicks

Movie Title: Dance Flick (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Ever since the emergence of that cross-culture “I will fulfill my dreams” genre of movies about becoming dancers against the odds (i.e. Save the Last Dance and Make it Happen, etc.), there has developed the need for satirical attacks against them. Who knew that a third-rate and mostly stupid film with the title Dance Flick would come along and fill the void? Upon seeing the title, I thought we had yet another lame-as-hell movie about dancers making it big. I was relieved to find out differently.

Yes, surprisingly, a film that has been nearly universally trashed by the critics steps up to yield an effective if corny satirical smashing of these lame “I’m going to be a star” films made for ignorant youthful audiences with too much energy and too little mind.

Scene after scene of exaggerated-to-the-point-of-absurdity dance maneuvers and asinine exchanges between the distinctly mapped-out characters will leave you saying, “Am I really watching this shit?” But none of that takes from the fact that the film does an actually good job of slinging the mud at two classes of characters that beg for the poopoo to be smeared in their nostrils.

The two classes are the big dreamers whom, in movies past, we were forced to watch go to the big cities, suffer a few rejections, keep on trying, before finally making it big so that we can see them set the world on fire with their then-unknown talent. Blah!

And then there were the street-hustling gang-bangers who hang with the wrong crowd and want a change for the better. A second “Blah” is in order. How many more films about talented underdogs are we going to be forced to endure? Delightfully, both classes are put down in some incredibly sharp ways.

The point of these old films was always: “I achieved my dreams, and no matter your circumstance, you can achieve yours too! Set your sights on the bright lights and the big city! Shoot for the stars! You can do it!” Spare me the crap.

Here’s something you should know about people who follow their dreams and “make it big.” Most don't. Of those that do, they decide on their own to do it. They won’t be deterred, and they don’t need movies to inspire them by showing only stories where the underdog inevitably makes it to the top. My hat goes off to the director and writers who bring to life the stories of giving it your best and still failing.

Directed by Damon Wayans and written by Keenan and Shawn Wayans, Dance Flick was never boring, but it was also never anything but stupid. You get to meet a steady influx of street dancers, “gangstas,” a mega-fat crime boss, a deadbeat father, and an expectedly cute white girl who tragically lost her mother and falls head-over-heels for a black man that no respectable parent would admire. Oh, and you’ll be delighted to meet “Miss Cameltoe”! The whole lot of them is being punched in the face, and that is the beauty of it!

There was just enough legit humor to allow its graduation from “In the running for the worst movie of the year” to “Well, heck, if I have nothing better to do and nothing else better is on to watch, then this one might be worth a shot.” It’s the unique genre that is filled that is the saving grace here. There just aren’t many movies lampooning gay-ass dancing flicks, and that sets this one apart.

(JH)

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Grade: D+ (1 ½ stars)
Rated: PG-13
Summation: Street dancer Thomas Uncles is from the wrong side of the tracks, but his bond with the beautiful Megan White might help the duo realize their dreams as the enter in the mother of all dance battles.
Director: Daman Wayans
Starring: Shoshana Bush “Megan,” Damon Wayans Jr. “Thomas” Essence Atkins “Charity,” Affion Crockett “A-Con,” Chris Elliott “Ron,” Christina Murphy “Nora,” David Alan Grier “Sugar Bear,” Amy Sedaris “Ms. Cameltoe,” Kim Wayans “Ms. Dontwannabebothered”
Genre: Comedy

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