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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Step Up 3D

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Rick Malambri and Sharni Vinson star in "Step Up 3D."
Three-dimensional effects enhance the precision choreography showcased in "Step Up 3D" (Disney).

But the nimble numbers in this tale retreading familiar Hollywood themes of dream fulfillment and the self-selecting circle of friends as do-it-yourself substitute family are interspersed with flat-footed dialogue, a creaky plot and some provocative moves and lyrics.

This third installment of the street stomping franchise, which began with 2006's "Step Up," shifts the setting from Baltimore to New York and focuses on Luke (Rick Malambri), the charismatic and caring leader of a Gotham dance crew called the Pirates.

Discovering, in rapid succession, the hoofing gifts of New York University freshman Moose (Adam G. Sevani) and nightclub denizen Natalie (Sharni Vinson), Luke recruits them for the group, taking slightly nerdy engineering student Moose under his man-of-the-world wing while quickly succumbing to Natalie's charms. Luke, we learn, needs all the help he can get to win the upcoming, multi-round dance championship called World Jam, the proceeds from which will forestall foreclosure on the loft where he and the Pirates live and practice.

But Moose is plagued by academic and amorous distractions, the latter caused by his high school best bud and fellow NYU frosh Camille (Alyson Stoner), who secretly yearns to be more than just pals, while Natalie—despite her sensitive support for Luke's potential as a would-be filmmaker—is not, alas, all she seems. Also hindering Luke's quest for the World Jam prize money is former friend-turned-rival Julien (Joe Slaughter), the scheming, underhanded frontman for the Pirates' main opposition, the Samurai.

Inept storytelling aside—oh, no, Moose's big test is the same night as the next World Jam match!—there's a generally buoyant feel to the proceedings in director Jon M. Chu's follow-up to his 2008 feature debut "Step Up 2: The Streets," best exemplified perhaps by a sidewalks-of-New York set piece shared by Moose and Camille that cleverly evokes classic Tinseltown fare of the Astaire-Rogers and Gene Kelly variety.

Both of the main romantic relationships are wholesome, straying no further than Luke and Natalie's occasional dance-floor clinch. And the passing flashes of humor in Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer's script—several of them playing on the stereotype of the hard-boiled Gothamite -- mostly hit the mark, though some viewers of faith may be put off by a joking application of the phrase "What would Jesus do?"

The film contains at least one use of the S-word, occasional crass language, a mildly irreverent joke and scenes of moderately suggestive dancing. 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.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Alphonsus Liguori: 
		<p>Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.</p>
		<p>In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.</p>
		<p>At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but he soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups. </p>
		<p>He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions. </p>
		<p>He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese. </p>
		<p>His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united. </p>
		<p>At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His <i>Glories of Mary</i> is one of the great works on that subject, and his book <i>Visits to the Blessed Sacrament</i> went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog Those who want to participate more fully in salvation history are comforted by the fact that Jesus wants to walk with us in our suffering and wants to break bread to give us strength on our way.

 
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