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“Dance Flick”-(Chris)
Reviewer:
Chris Pandolfi
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
Genre:
Comedy
Release Date:
10/6/09
Special Features:

Unrated cut of the film

Review:

An odd thing happened when I saw “Dance Flick” in the theater back in May. As soon as the end credits started rolling, I got up, stretched, and looked around. Absolutely no one was in the theater with me, which is odd since I distinctly remember four other people sitting behind me. Clearly, they had had enough of the film they were watching, and while I didn't dislike it enough to want to leave halfway through, I can still understand where they were coming from. ***

"Dance Flick" marks the return of the Wayans family to the field of parody filmmaking. The director is Damien Dante Wayans, and he co-wrote the film with his cousin Craig and uncles Keenan, Shawn, and Marlon. With such a large family all in the same business, it's a shame they weren't able to come up with something that made more of an effort to be funny. There is, however, an amusing scene featuring Marlon as a moody acting teacher; he dramatically points out that of all the working actors today, most are white, and the roles for black actors are reserved for the Wayans Brothers. ***

I'd be lying if I said that I enjoyed this film. I will say, however, that it's a fair sight better than the abomination that was 2008's "Disaster Movie." Honestly, when was the last time you saw something so incompetent? At the very least, "Dance Flick" makes an attempt at a plot. ***

Still, it's a very disjointed plot, and the jokes are obvious, juvenile, and hopelessly self-referential. In other words, no one was trying very hard. One could argue that parodies are not supposed to try, but I could just as easily counter that argument by bringing up "The Naked Gun" trilogy and the two "Hot Shots!" films. ***

Many movies are spoofed in "Dance Flick," but the focus is mostly on "Save the Last Dance," "Step Up," and "Step Up 2: The Streets." After the highly humorized death of her mother, a suburban white girl named Megan (Shoshana Bush) moves into the predominantly black inner city. She then enrolls in Musical High School, where young artists and performers go to make their dreams come true. She soon befriends an unwed mother named Charity (Essence Atkins), who takes her infant son with her wherever she goes (and I do mean wherever). ***

She also meets Charity's brother, Thomas Uncles (Damon Wayans, Jr.), a streetwise young man who has gotten involved in shady underground dance competitions with his posse. He takes it upon himself to help Megan get back into dancing; she was once a classically trained ballerina, but she lost her will when her mother died. ***

That's essentially as much of the plot as there is to describe. Everything else is just filler material composed almost entirely of verbal and physical gags. Take, for example, David Allen Grier as a morbidly obese gangster who only wants to spend his money on food. So passionate is he about eating that he belts out a number to the tune of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls." ***

And then there's a parody of Troy Bolton from "High School Musical," who in "Dance Flick" is about as gay as gay parodies get. He gets the chance to sing a humorous version of the title song from "Fame," which, strangely enough, is one of the film's best scenes. ***

I'm well aware that movies like this don't require the audience to question certain things, but I'm afraid there are some things that don't make sense even in a parody. Why, for instance, did they include a Tracy Turnblad lookalike when no one even bothers to spoof a scene from "Hairspray"? Who thought it was a good idea to feature a shot of a street-dancing pregnant woman giving birth on the dance floor? Did someone think that posing the fetus in a dance position would make up for its tastelessness? And why on earth did they end the film with a scene that makes fun of "Twilight"? The last time I checked, "Twilight" did not feature a single scene of street dancing. ***

That being said, there are a few (a very select few) scenes I thought were somewhat amusing. The final dance competition playfully exploited David Allen Grier and his enormous fat suit, which is exaggerated to the point that it's no longer offensive. I also smirked during a moment between Megan and Thomas; music swells as he tries to offer her words of encouragement, prompting him to turn around and tell the orchestra section to keep it down. Alas, nothing else stands out as being funny or memorable. ***

Special Features:

Other than the fact that an expanded unrated version is available, the DVD does not include any special features. The film is presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen format and features Dolby 5.1 Digital sound. ***

Final Words:

Given the number of parody films that are made annually, I don't think it's possible to make an original spoof anymore. They all follow the same basic structure and tell the same basic jokes, none of which were all that funny to begin with. If there is a saving grace, it's that "Dance Flick" isn't as bad as it could have been. But it's still pretty bad. No wonder I ended up alone in the theater.

 

 
 
 
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