May 28, 2009

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Dance Flick (PG-13)
A flock of Wayans (or is the correct term “gaggle” or “pride”) construct Dance Flick, a thin lean-to of dance movie parody directed by Damien Dante Wayans.

Not to be confused with Damon Wayans — Damien Dante is a Wayans brothers nephew. Damon Wayans Jr., son of the original Damon, is the movie’s male lead, and assorted other Wayans fill the supporting cast. Jr. plays, more or less, the Sean Patrick Thomas character (kid looking to escape a tough neighborhood and become a doctor) from Save the Last Dance while Shoshana Bush plays the Julia Stiles character (ballet dancer who learns to dance hip-hop). They are vaguely the center of what story this movie has, though look-alikes for Zac Efron, Ray Charles a la Ray and Tracy from Hairspray also populate the cast along with one-jokers like Amy Sedaris’ tight-pants-wearing dance instructor Ms. Cameltoe (pronounced “Cameltwa”).

There is so much cheese and there are so many opportunities for delicious satire in the dance movie genre. When dance isn’t bringing together the geeky girl and the handsome boy or the kid from the streets and the girl from the upper crust, it’s saving lives or academic careers or marriages. Sometimes, illegal street dances are helping to pay for something and sometimes the dance-off is someone’s Big Shot. Disappointingly, Dance Flick misses almost all of these parody-ready clichés in favor of weak blind jokes about Ray (it’s been how long since that movie came out?), lame riffs on Save the Last Dance and Step Up and not nearly enough pokes at High School Musical. I actually found myself wishing for the metacommentary of the Scream variety. I mean, nothing about Take the Lead? No Baz Luhrmann moments? Is a Fame song knock-off really the best it gets? C-

Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, and language. Directed by Damien Dante Wayans and written by Wayans Keenan Ivory, Shawn, Marlon and Craig as well as the aforementioned Damien Dante, Dance Flick is an hour and 23 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by MTV Films and Paramount Pictures.