August 21, 2006 12:00 PM

Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan



Swiping moves from countless other dance movies—Fame and the recent Take the Lead, to name a couple—Step Up trips over its own clichés. But its target demo probably won’t mind. Let’s break it down: A troubled Baltimore foster kid (Tatum—a bruiser with soulful eyes) is sentenced to doing community service as a janitor at the city’s high school for the performing arts. There, he meets a classically trained dance student from the right side of the tracks (Dewan) who—surprise!—needs a partner. Soon, these two are fusing hip-hop and ballet into seriously silly routines.

Nothing happens anyone over 20 can’t spot three pas de deux ahead, but younger viewers are likely to find this extended music video-with-a-plot engrossing. And the hip-hop soundtrack will set toes tapping. (PG-13)

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