A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Orphaned and threatened by her guardian to be sent away for hanging with 401, a crew that attacks subway trains with hip-hop dance pranks, Andie (the charismatic Briana Evigan) gets a reprieve when she's admitted to the esteemed Maryland School of the Arts in Baltimore. But juggling the demands of street dancing and classes proves far too difficult, and she gets kicked out of 401. It's the only family she knows, and she loves the thrill of street dancing. So Andie, convinced by phenomenal dancer and classmate, Chase (Robert Hoffman), forms her own crew comprised of the school's misfits. They may be outsiders at MSA, but on the dance floor, they have mad skills. And the group's determined to battle it out with Andie's old gang for supremacy on the streets.
Is it any good?
The paint-by-numbers plot won't win any awards, but STEP UP 2 THE STREETS delivers electrifying dance performances set to an infectious soundtrack. (T-Pain's groove-inducing "Low" is pitch-perfect.) And it's hard to argue with the feel-good conclusion that favors the message of unity over a more typical, schmaltzy love-story ending. Plus, the cast is fantastic, especially Adam Sevani as Moose, Andie's newfound friend at MSA. Also look for heartthrob Channing Tatum from the original Step Up, who gives a small but impressive show at a club.
Director Jon M. Chu wisely lets the dancing speak for itself -- the acting and the story aren't bad, but are hardly memorable -- by giving the dancers room to impress; There's no heavy-handed editing here, no quick-cut overload. The result: Entertainment that's light on depth but heavy on fun -- and full of mesmerizing dance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why dance is so important to Andie, who appears to have had a difficult childhood (though we don't get many details about it). How does it allow her to grow and learn? What sense of satisfaction does she get out of competing in the streets?
Why do you think dance movies are so popular?