Battle of the Year

 
(i)

 

Passable drama has great dancers but no originality.
  • Review Date: September 18, 2013
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 109 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Teamwork, above all, prevails. And check your ego at the door.

Positive role models

Though Coach Blake is an alcoholic, he's trying to stop drinking while putting the team together. Almost everyone on the crew is well-intentioned and determined, though some are arrogant and aggressive. (They're weeded out pretty quickly.)

Violence

A fistfight erupts between two dancers over a girl, but it's over soon. A man has a tense conversation with a colleague regarding his sexual identity. A main character has experienced tragic loss.

Sex

Some sexual innuendoes.

Language

Language includes several uses of "s--t," plus "bulls--t," "damn," "t-tties," "ass," "hell," "goddamn, "oh my God," and "a--hole." Also, some scenes of young men giving each other the finger.

Consumerism

Labels seen/shown include Braun, Sony (all sorts of products), Puma, Agora, and Air Tahiti.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One main character is dependent on alcohol, and he's shown knocking back a flask morning, noon, and night -- but he's trying to kick the habit and pull himself together.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Battle of the Year is a drama about a hip-hop dance crew (including a cocky dancer played by musician Chris Brown) training to take on the world's best groups in an international competition. Though it lacks originality, it emphasizes teamwork above ego and artistry over showboating. A main character is an alcoholic who's trying to quit. Expect plenty of swearing -- "s--t," "damn," "hell," etc. -- and some sexual innuendo and confrontational behavior, primarily shouting and one fistfight. Several products are shown, especially those from Sony.

What's the story?

Hip-hop producer Dante (Laz Alonso) is tired of seeing the American dance crew he sponsors lose out to teams from all the other countries that compete in the definitive international B-boy tournament held in France. His current crew has lost its groove, so he hires an old college buddy, Jason Blake (Josh Holloway). Not only was Blake a great basketball player, but he's the ultimate team-builder, and he starts by assembling a new crew from scratch, including a cocksure dancer named Rooster (Chris Brown), whose ego is as massive as his talent. Blake's second-in-command, Franklyn (Josh Peck), isn't sure how this is going to work, and neither is Dante ... especially since Blake is struggling with an alcohol problem after the deaths of his wife and son.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The dancing in BATTLE OF THE YEAR is mind-bendingly good, with limbs and bodies flying around so fast that they seem to defy gravity. No doubt the men who make up the B-boy crew are talented and eminently watchable -- essential in a dance movie. What else works? The story's quick ramp-up, which dispenses with the prologue in 10 efficient minutes.

But let's be clear: Battle of the Year isn't memorable. And it isn't innovative. (Sample dialogue: "There's no 'I' in team.") It can be fun to watch, and you may even laugh at its unoriginal jokes, but you'll recover from this battle in no time flat, forgetting what was at stake in the first place.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the coach's approach to team-building and training. Cliched as it may seem, what does it truly mean when someone says there's no "I" in team?

  • Is Battle of the Year different from other dance movies? The same? Is there a formula? And if so, does there have to be?

  • What does the coach learn from his dancers?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 20, 2013
DVD release date:December 10, 2013
Cast:Chris Brown, Josh Holloway, Josh Peck, Laz Alonzo
Director:Benson Lee
Studio:Screen Gems
Genre:Drama
Topics:Arts and dance, Great boy role models
Run time:109 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some rude behavior and language

This review of Battle of the Year was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old September 30, 2013
 

BOOM

AWEOMSE MOVIE!!!!! I loved it. If you like movies like Honey 2, or any of the step up movies, footloose, etc, this will be an enjoyable movie for you. Some language, but still ok for older tweens and teens.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent Written byRuthLange September 24, 2013
 

Boring but harmless

For me as an adult this movie was incredibly heavy-handed on the cliches, boring and badly made. The kids loved it though. I took a 9-year-old, who's really into break-dancing, and two 11-year-olds. If you don't mind hearing the odd "sh*t" and "*ss" this movie is just fine for that age group. The coach's drinking problem is barely noticeable to kids - it's restricted to him taking the occasional swig out of a nondescript flask when he's home alone. He never acts drunk or rowdy, and is never seen drinking in bars. I honestly think my 9-year-old probably didn't even realize he was supposed to be an alcoholic. The sexual innuendo was very minimal. There is one woman in the movie and she is treated as one of the gang (after a couple of little jokes at the beginning).
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byiPunk September 22, 2013
 

Unemployed coach becomes world renowned.

Josh Holloway's character before he was the coach was out of a job. Which is not uncommon. Unemployment rates have actually gone up over the past six years. I heard that in 2009 10% of all people were unemployed. While the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is up at 80% in 2012. There is work being done trying to get more people jobs, including those that have disabilities. There is a fight scene at a party.
What other families should know
Great messages

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