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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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Katharine Drexel: If your father is an international banker and you ride in a private railroad car, you are not likely to be drawn into a life of voluntary poverty. But if your mother opens your home to the poor three days each week and your father spends half an hour each evening in prayer, it is not impossible that you will devote your life to the poor and give away millions of dollars. Katharine Drexel did that. 
<p>She was born in Philadelphia in 1858. She had an excellent education and traveled widely. As a rich girl, she had a grand debut into society. But when she nursed her stepmother through a three-year terminal illness, she saw that all the Drexel money could not buy safety from pain or death, and her life took a profound turn. </p><p>She had always been interested in the plight of the Indians, having been appalled by what she read in Helen Hunt Jackson’s <i>A Century of Dishonor</i>. While on a European tour, she met Pope Leo XIII and asked him to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her friend Bishop James O’Connor. The pope replied, “Why don’t you become a missionary?” His answer shocked her into considering new possibilities. </p><p>Back home, Katharine visited the Dakotas, met the Sioux leader Red Cloud and began her systematic aid to Indian missions. </p><p>She could easily have married. But after much discussion with Bishop O’Connor, she wrote in 1889, “The feast of St. Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored.” Newspaper headlines screamed “Gives Up Seven Million!” </p><p>After three and a half years of training, she and her first band of nuns (Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored) opened a boarding school in Santa Fe. A string of foundations followed. By 1942 she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, plus 40 mission centers and 23 rural schools. Segregationists harassed her work, even burning a school in Pennsylvania. In all, she established 50 missions for Indians in 16 states. </p><p>Two saints met when Katharine was advised by Mother Cabrini about the “politics” of getting her Order’s Rule approved in Rome. Her crowning achievement was the founding of Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic university in the United States for African Americans. </p><p>At 77, she suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Apparently her life was over. But now came almost 20 years of quiet, intense prayer from a small room overlooking the sanctuary. Small notebooks and slips of paper record her various prayers, ceaseless aspirations and meditation. She died at 96 and was canonized in 2000.</p> American Catholic Blog Our task during these forty days is to examine our lives in light of God’s Word and see where we’ve allowed darkness to creep in, where we’ve taken the bait of the diabolical fisher of men. It’s time to use the sword of the Spirit to cut through his web of deception, to free ourselves from the net that holds us as prey.


 
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