A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main characters, Sarah and Miles, sleep together without ever discussing whether they're boyfriend and girlfriend -- but after they've already started to fall in love. Only arms and legs are visible. There's some drinking by underage teens, and Katrina encourages Sarah to use drugs to be "perfect" enough to be a prima ballerina. But Sarah goes through these things and learns to follow her own muse, not act as the muse of others. She learns to express her creativity and talent, and not hide behind the creativity of others -- a great message for teen girls who might feel insecure about their own talents.
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What's the story?
In SAVE THE LAST DANCE 2, Sarah (Izabella Miko) was accepted to Julliard, for which she auditioned at the end of the first film, and follows her path as she strives for her goal of becoming a prima ballerina. Sarah meets roommate Zoe (the appropriately "quirky brunette" played by Aubrey Dollar), her ambitious mentor Katrina (Maria Brooks), the suave and hip-hop talented Miles (Columbus Short), and the dominatrix-like ballet instructor Monique Delacroix (a fabulously icy Jacqueline Bisset). She sets her hip-hop moves to Miles' inspired tracks and soon finds herself burning the candle at both ends. When she's offered the prima ballerina role of Giselle in the school ballet production, and she finds out the secret reason Miles dropped out of Julliard, she has to make a choice: The road less traveled or ballet perfection.
Is it any good?
If Save the Last Dance 2 had been called something else, and not associated with the fabulous original, it would have been released in theaters and inspired a throng of dance-movie devotees. Instead, you'll have to get the DVD to appreciate the fun of this hip hop-meets-ballet movie. In this film, Miko plays an altogether different Sarah. Less down-to-earth and relatable than Julia Stiles, Miko's Sarah is ethereal and untouchable. She's almost too perfect. That, and her poorly hidden Polish accent, create a kind of unbelievability that makes early scenes hard to sit through.
The premise of the movie itself may be trite, but it's so well done that the viewer can't help but get sucked in. Especially for young women around Sarah's age -- 18 to 22 -- the questions Sarah faces are their questions, too. Do they do what their parents want or what they want? What are the consequences of following their own inspiration? The heaviness of life-lessons aside, this movie has some great dancing in it. The original film wishes it had the kind of choreography that Save the Last Dance 2 boasts. It's kind of Center Stage-meets-Honey -- and for lovers of dance movies, that's a great compliment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how far family members would go to achieve their dreams. Would you consider using drugs? Would you be willing to give up other things in your life you enjoy in order to have accolades? And more to the point, do you think the movie is realistic in making success in your chosen field and love mutually exclusive? Do you think Monique is right that wanting to have it all is a "child's idea of happiness?"
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