In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb same kind of different as me

Same Kind of Different as Me

It can be hard to disagree with the heart and events of this true tale, except for when the movie reveals itself to be mighty…

Thumb mv5bnda4ymmwmgity2mzos00odjilthmzdetyza5ngu4zjq5yjhixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjk5nda3otk . v1 sy1000 cr0 0 674 1000 al

Geostorm

God knows how many millions of dollars and hours of manpower went into making and remaking Geostorm but it turns out to have been all…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Breakin'

  |  

There are going to be several street dancing movies this summer and “Breakin’” is the first one, sweet and high-spirited and with three dancers who are so good they deserve a better screenplay. This is really two movies: A stiff and awkward story, interrupted by dance sequences of astonishing grace and power.

The story, alas, is predictable from beginning to end. We meet Kelly, a young Los Angeles dancer (Lucinda Dickey) who is the student of a hateful choreographer. Through a friend she meets a couple of break-dancers on the boardwalk at Venice. They have a concept of dancing that’s totally different from hers; while she polishes technique, they turn up the volume on their ghetto blasters and lose themselves in the joy of street dancing. She likes them, dances with them, and they form a team.

Advertisement

So far, so good. But then we have to sit through flatly written and awkwardly acted scenes involving (1) the famous choreographer who lusts for Kelly, is jealous of street dancers, and tries to blackball the trio from a big dance competition; (2) the young agent who believes in Kelly and agrees to back her and her friends; (3) a roomful of stuck-up high society dance snobs, who look down their noses at Kelly’s friends, when in real life they’d be almost automatically in favor of spontaneous street forms of dancing; and (4) a stuck-up dance judge with a British accent, who tries to throw the trio out of the room and is then miraculously converted when they start to dance.

Kelly’s two dance partners have street names they’re proud of. Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones plays Ozone, a sensitive Latino who likes Kelly but is alert for the slightest sign of condescension, and Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers plays Turbo, whose hands and feet have lives of their own. The screenplay is so inconsistent, it originally suggests they’re gay, then totally drops that notion. Both actors are actually Los Angeles street dancers, and they are so spontaneous and unforced in scenes with each other (and with Dickey) that it’s a shame they’re surrounded by so many wooden supporting performances.

The fact is, there’s a movie here somewhere. Dickey has a wonderfully fresh presence and a level-headed likeability, and she can dance (we will, I think, hear a lot more from her). Chambers and Quinones are two of the more original movie characters in a long time. I’ll bet an interesting documentary could have been made about how these three performers met, how they learned to work together, how the street dancers taught their moves to the traditionally trained Dickey, and how they got along offscreen. Those subjects supply the fictional plot of this movie – but the script is too amateurish and the direction too clumsy to take advantage of the great material.

You like street dancing? This is a great movie, if you can manage to ignore about two-thirds of it.

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

The Fall of Toxic Masculinity and the Rise of Feminine Consciousness

A special edition of Thumbnails detailing the recent sexual harassment cases in the entertainment and tech industries...

"Blade Runner" vs. "Blade Runner 2049"

A Great Movie is hidden somewhere within "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049."

Oscars Could Be Facing Dearth of Diversity Yet Again

A column on the lack of diversity in this year's potential Oscar nominees.

Tears of a Machine: The Humanity of Luv in "Blade Runner 2049"

No character in “Blade Runner 2049” is more relatably human than Luv.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus