Movie: How She Move
My Rating: 2 stars
Yikes! This movie managed to take all the joy out of the cheesy dance flick. I normally love these things. And, I never dreamed that the genre would ever fail me! I can’t resist all the overwrought acting, the ridiculous fashion choices, and of course, the almost mandatory slow-mo, outdoor, dance number in a rainy parking lot. But man, this movie couldn’t have been more of a condescending snoozefest!
You know the basic story here. They’re essentially all the same. Raya (played by Rutina Wesley) is a smart girl from a poor family. She’s determined to get out of the projects by studying hard in private school. She wants to become a doctor. But, when her older sister dies from a drug overdose she makes the difficult decision to come home to provide emotional support for her mom and dad. And, this is a particularly hard transition. Raya’s old friends think she’s too uppity now that she’s been off to private school. But, her family may not be able to come up with the money to send her back next term. There’s a scholarship competition that may help send Raya back to school, but she fears she may not be ready for the rigorous exam—especially now that she’s reconnected with her long-forgotten love of step dancing! She had thought she had her life all figured out, but now it looks like Raya will have to start over from scratch.
While she’s home, Raya has a lot of soul-searching to do. She’d forgotten a lot of her old friends in her attempts to get ahead in school. But, can a person really be happy without any personal relationships? And, Raya discovers that she can find some joy in helping others get ahead too. It’s all very clichéd and trite. But, all these dance movies trade pretty heavily in these kinds of platitudes. So, I guess my main complaint is that this film doesn’t even attempt to have a little fun with the material. The Step Up series has certainly learned how to do that. It took them a few tries, but now they’re getting delightfully silly with the movies. I guess this film is a little older. It came out in 2007, so it’s from the generation of dance film that is a little more earnest. But, I still wanted a little more. Also, I hate to say it, but the dancing wasn’t all that impressive either. I know, I know—dancing is hard. And, step dancing is particularly rigorous. I certainly couldn’t do what these actors do. But, the beauty of film is that you can create magic in the editing process. To not take advantage of that is practically a crime in this genre!
You really don’t need to see this movie—even if you are a big fan of silly dance movies, like me. This one just doesn’t have the payoff that I’ve come to expect from these things. Sure, there are some personal struggles that get resolved by the end. And, there is a final dance battle. But neither are very exciting or impressive. Don’t waste your time on this one.