We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Certainly you don’t go to a “Step Up” movie for the glittering repartee. You go for the dazzling dance moves. But even by the standards of this franchise—and this genre in general—“Step Up All In” is pretty laughable.
If only there were a way you could fast-forward through all the junk while sitting in the movie theater—the wooden delivery and barely-there characterizations, the tedious exposition and contrived conflicts—and just get to the performances. But alas, one must endure banal dialogue and a flimsy plot in order to enjoy the gravity-defying, acrobatic extravaganzas. It’s enough to make you wish they’d called the movie “Step Up and Shut Up.”
Instead, the title of this fifth film in the series is as bland as the members of the competing dance crews that populate it. Perhaps there’s some allure here for true devotees in that characters from previous installments return and collaborate, “Fast-and-Furious”-style. (Sadly, Channing Tatum—who began his rise to superstardom in the original “Step Up” back in 2006—is nowhere to be found. Then again, he has far better things to do these days.) If you’re a newbie, you won’t be lost—this isn’t exactly a Christopher Nolan film in terms of narrative complexity—but you’ll probably be checking your watch as you wait for the next dance number to start.
Director Trish Sie’s feature debut, with a script from John Swetnam, begins in lively fashion, though. Sean (the blankly handsome and hunky Ryan Guzman) and his pals in the dance crew The Mob work their butts off at commercial auditions while wearing ridiculous costumes and incorporating various products. It’s the dance-film version of a rom-com bad date montage. These are the performers who moved from Miami to Los Angeles after winning a spot in a high-profile Nike ad in the previous movie, 2012’s “Step Up Revolution," but now they’re finding that surviving as working dancers in L.A. is nearly impossible and decide to go back home—all except Sean.