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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although ultimately the message is positive -- that people should follow their passion, whether it's dance, filmmaking, or engineering -- there are some mixed signals when Luke encourages Moose to blow off classes for the dance battles. The fact that Natalie lies about who she is for much of the movie is also a negative take-away for kids.
Positive Role Models
Luke is generous, offering dancers a place to stay when they have no where else to go, and Moose is an inspiration to stay true to your own gifts and talents. But the kids generally don't seem to do anything but dance and play. Natalie lies to everyone about who she is and why she's dancing with them. Of everyone, Camille is the best role model, because she actually pays attention to her school work and her friends.
Violence & Scariness
The dance "battles" are aggressive but not necessarily violent, although they do lead to actual brawls between the dance crews one or two times. There's also some pushing and shoving between the crew leaders, but no blood or injuries.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple flirts for half of the movie, does a few sultry dance moves together (including an intimate tango), and kisses passionately a couple of times. Another couple kisses briefly in one scene. Several young women are dressed in tight or skin-baring clothes, and some of the choreography could be considered provocative.
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One use of "f--k," one "s--t," and one "bulls--t," as well as several insults like "loser," "ass," "jerk," and "stupid." Also "hell" and "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
In addition to the various Nike sneakers the dancers wear, brands are featured during the dance competitions, particularly Sprite. The friends play videogames on a PlayStation, which is also one of the sponsors of the competition.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
At a fancy party and in a dance club, there are people with cups in their hands, but it's not overt, and it's implied to be alcohol, rather than specifically confirmed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the third installment in the Step Up franchise has some romance and some aggressive dance battles, but is overall an age-appropriate choice for younger teens. There's flirting, kissing, and at-times sexy dancing, but there's nothing truly risque, and the romance is tame by movie standards. One scene shows a violent club brawl, and all of the dance battles are aggressive and feature hostile dancers challenging each other. (And the 3-D makes the dance sequences all the more thrilling/intense.) Although the ultimate message is a positive one -- to follow your passion wherever it leads -- some of the characters make it seem like dancing is more important than attending college or pretty much any other responsibility. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Let's start off with the dance moves, which are undeniably entertaining. Anyone who enjoys So You Think You Can Dance will love all of the 3-D-shot dance sequences, and all of the crews have amazing skills. But any time the movie's focus shifts from dancing to an actual story or dialogue, STEP UP 3-D flails under the pressure of laughable dialogue, predictable plot development, and obvious story holes. When Natalie tells Luke she's been in London for a few years, the natural follow-up should be "what were you doing there?" or "what brought you back home"; instead, the subject is changed entirely. Later, when Natalie invites Luke to a party and it turns out to be a black-tie affair, Luke and Moose should immediately wonder why someone they thought had no family is hosting a rich-girl affair, but instead they suddenly decide to seal the caterers' black jackets.
Kids and dance lovers may be more forgiving audiences than those who don't care about thrilling tangoes or the allure of amazing sneakers. Romance-wise, Moose and Camille's relationship is more interesting -- albeit "best friends who fall in love" formulaic. Their story of boy-girl BFFs, coupled with Sevani and Stoner's charm, make that subplot satisfying. The rest of the dancer-actors were clearly hired for their dance skills rather their acting prospects.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.