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Step Up All In

Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Parris Gobel and Christopher Scott, front, star in a scene from the movie "Step Up All In."
Completists of the "Step Up" franchise may find the fifth outing in the dance-showcasing series, "Step Up All In" (Summit), enjoyable. Others will wonder where the plot went.

Intricate storylines have never been the goal in these films, in which scrappy, multiethnic dance crews seek an escape from their workaday existences by entering lucrative competitions. The series is a happy fantasy with a relentlessly positive -- and basically moral -- milieu. It's all about the kids showing off their moves.

"There's a magic that happens when you dance," Sean Asa (Ryan Guzman) says in the opening voice-over. "The world is in synch, and for one perfect moment, you feel totally alive."

So we get it: Gotta dance! But director Trish Sie and screenwriter John Swetnam come up hugely short on dialogue to stitch the terpsichorean segments together. And what there is of conversation is stoutly cliched.

As the movie begins, Sean and his team, reduced to auditioning for commercials, have washed out all their prospects in Los Angeles. So Sean's fellow dancers abandon him, returning to their hometown, Miami.

More or less undaunted, Sean finds a new dream online with "The Vortex," a reality-TV competition in Las Vegas hosted by Alexxa Brava (Izabella Miko). The winners of "The Vortex" will be rewarded with a guaranteed three-year contract at a Sin City hotel.

Within no more time than it takes to call out "five-six-seven-eight," Sean reunites with friends Moose (Adam Sevani) and Andie (Briana Evigan). Together, they assemble a new crew that features spectacular choreography, chic costumes -- and the occasional mild argument.

There's pluck, there's moxie, there's the old know-how, and sometimes someone blows out a knee or loses their nerve. But where there's a tapping toe, it seems, there's always a way.

Mature adolescents should have no problem with any of this, other than feeling deprived by the skimpy script.

The film contains fleeting sexual banter and at least one instance of rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.

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Francesco Antonio Fasani: Born in Lucera (southeast Italy), Francesco entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1695. After his ordination 10 years later, he taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later became provincial. When his term of office ended, Francesco became master of novices and finally pastor in his hometown. 
<p>In his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco’s holiness testified, "In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance." Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed. </p><p>At his death in Lucera, children ran through the streets and cried out, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" Francesco was canonized in 1986.</p> American Catholic Blog Even in the innocence and devotion of my dog, I see a reminder from heaven to stay simple and devout! I call our funny little canine “a smile from heaven” because God uses him to make us laugh every single day, no matter what else is going on in our lives. Everywhere I look, it seems that God is sending me coded messages.

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