Monday, 26 March 2012

From the archive: "StreetDance"

The energetic Britpic StreetDance displays almost exemplary cheek in hitching its wagons to not one but two passing fads: the current urban dance craze (as perpetuated by such U.S. teen movies as Step Up and How She Move, and - closer to home - talent-show breakout acts George Sampson and Diversity, guest stars here) and the new digital 3D format. Put simply, this is a shameless cash-in: it might as well have been titled Breakin' 3: Electric Boogalee. Tousle-haired Carly (Nichola Burley) is obliged to retrain her motley crew of dancers after her male lead - and boyfriend - elects to put their personal and professional relationships on hiatus by joining a rival outfit known as The Surge (oo-er missus).

To offset the sensation of watching cultural ambulance-chasing (those American dance pictures were cheap and profitable, after all), the script offers a certain amount of parochialism appropriate to screenwriter Jane English's surname: there's the rain and Health and Safety to contend with, and the youngsters get the day off at the Notting Hill Carnival; "Everyone in Top Shop is watching us!," exclaims Carly's BFF after the crew are busted for busting moves in a Wandsworth shopping centre. As Carly's caff-owning dad, the great Frank Harper - yes, it's Frank Harper in 3D! - spends his handful of scenes moaning about the number of KitKats his daughter's mates are getting through. (Ideally, producers Vertigo Films would give Harper his own spin-off 3D vehicle, working title Jog On.)

Where StreetDance cribs most heavily from its American predecessors is in its absurdly reductive contrast between classical and street dance, proceeding as though The Nutcracker and N-Dubz couldn't possibly exist in the same universe. When Carly rents rehearsal space in a ballet academy run by two grandes dames - Charlotte Rampling in 3D! Eleanor Bron in 3D! - the kidz turn their nosez up at the salad on offer in the refectory, instead ordering out for chicken and ribs; when Carly's mob premiere their latest piece - set to Prokofiev (or "The Theme From The Apprentice", as the target audience will doubtless recognise it) - it's greeted as though someone's tried to restage The Rite of Spring in a Brixton ragga club.

Giggles at such inherent silliness give way to amused tolerance during the dance sequences, which at least showcase some skill and sense of directionality. The attempt to keep it real - signalled by a proper grimy [sic] soundtrack (the usual offenders: Chipmunk, Tinie Tempah, the new, lo-cal, entirely synthetic Sugababes, who should by rights be rechristened the Splendababes) - is, however, fatally undermined by a worldview that would only appear credible if you were twelve years of age, and even then, only if you'd been raised on fluff and nonsense like this.

(May 2010)

StreetDance is available on DVD through EOne; StreetDance 2 opens nationwide from Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Great entertainment produced by Dancers. And I love StreetDance. This movie is just a fantastic one!