Sunday 5 August 2012

From the archive: "Step Up 2 The Streets"

2006's Step Up, charting the emergent relationship between a classical dancer and a blue-collar tough, raked in more cash than you'd have thought possible for a film so formulaic at heart. Inevitable sequel Step Up 2 The Streets - which has nothing much to do with its predecessor and a title only a 47-year-old development executive could think hip - follows a plucky street dancer (Briana Evigan, daughter of Greg) as she struggles to fit in at a strict academy, and manages to be quite formidably mechanical: every line of set-up clunks like a piston in a garbage compactor. Those of a Saturday Night Fever vintage might be interested to learn that dancefloors have swapped flashing coloured lights for trampettes, and that it's possible to perform a nifty routine on, around or underneath the seats of a moving train carriage, which may give you something to work on the next time the 6.45 to St. Neots is delayed. As our heroine puts it: "The streets is about where you're from." (Excuse me, little lady: I think you'll find that's the streets are...) With director Jon M. Chu's Diet Coke-ad aesthetic negating his characters' "don't ever conform" speechifying, it's of note chiefly as a prominent example of how the marketing of youth culture back to the young has been, as it were, stepped up over the past decade or so. In years gone by, something this laughably flimsy would have been packed off direct-to-DVD (as, say, Save the Last Dance 2 was) and passed muster only at the least discriminating of sleepovers. Nowadays, such all-American pap - replete with its (awful) tie-in Timbaland and Flo Rida singles - can be pumped into the frontal lobes of teenagers worldwide, earning itself millions in the process. A moratorium on pocket money may be in order.

(March 2008)

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