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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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Pedro de San José Betancur: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala. 
<p>Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change. </p><p>“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy. </p><p>Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established. </p><p>Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. </p><p>Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion. </p><p>He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve <i>posadas</i> procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. </p><p>Pedro was canonized in 2002.</p> American Catholic Blog We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting that the Lord wants to help us. Let's never be afraid to admit that we are weak and can't do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: "On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses" (2 Corinthians 12:5).


 
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