STEP UP: REVOLUTION

If there were an award called the “Shamie” — for laziness, laughable plotting, amateurish acting, and offensively impossible happy endings — the STEP UP series would now have earned four. So why do I love them so much? For the dancing and the musical productions — even here, even with a decided drop in inventiveness from the last installment, STEP UP 3D. This time we get a flash mob with hydraulically-jazzed cars in Miami’s South Beach, a trippy art gallery punking, and a big finale at the pier — not to mention a lovely pas de deux on the beach between the two leads. Ryan Guzman isn’t Channing Tatum, but he wisely keeps the acting part low key, and his looks and dancing talent take care of the rest. (Kathryn McCormick, however, struggles to get through her lines.) What’s most interesting about REVOLUTION is its “politics” to the extent that it raises the possibility of art being put in the service of progressive change. Yes, it plays out as a ridiculous fairy tale — but sometimes even mawkishness feels better than cynicism — Jeff Schultz

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