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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Step Up Revolution

By
Adam Shaw
Source: Catholic News Service


Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick star in "Step Up Revolution."
One adage holds that it's best to stick to what you're good at. It's too bad screenwriter Amanda Brody didn't take that advice on board when writing "Step Up Revolution" (Summit).

This fourth installment of the steamy dance and romance franchise continues to showcase the kind of top-notch choreography to which fans who dig fine shindigging have become accustomed.

Instead of providing a light plot to match the lively steps of the dance numbers, though, "Revolution" wanders off into risible pretentiousness. Stony-faced exchanges about protesting this and that and "breaking the rules" are more likely to make audiences cringe than reflect.

Throw in some risque routines—as well as a few turns of phrase too salty for the youngsters who would otherwise probably enjoy this outing the most—and the fun is dampened still further.

The hackneyed plot focuses on Miami urbanite Sean (Ryan Guzman). Along with his best friend since childhood, Eddy (Misha Gabriel), Sean runs a flash-mob group known as "The Mob."

Their version of the fad sees this ensemble of highly skilled dancers, musicians and artists suddenly appearing out of nowhere, providing their chosen audience with a jaw-dropping performance to be recorded on cell phones and immortalized on YouTube, and then vanishing.

With fame and possible fortune looming, Sean encounters the equally fleet of foot Emily (Kathryn McCormick), who's out to audition her way into the prestigious Wynwood Dance Company. Needless to say, when hoofer meets hoofer, it's kismet.

Pouty Em is busy rebelling against her millionaire father, Bill (Peter Gallagher), who, sensibly enough, wants her to abandon her long-shot dreams of becoming a professional dancer and go back to college.

Geez, Dad, what are you thinking?

When they discover that Bill—heartless capitalist that he is—plans to redevelop local land and raze their downscale neighborhood in the process, the truculent troupe, Emily included, go into Occupy mode. They plan a campaign of "protest art" to fight against the forces of conformity. Ostensibly of-the-moment references to social media and online hits, alas, fail to make this story any less stale than it sounds.

So in lieu of a fun-filled whirl across the dance floor, Brody and first-time director Scott Speer give us a surfeit of half-baked political posturing and self-indulgent sentimentality.

While the relationship between the two leads remains wholesome, that's not an adjective that could be used to describe the pseudo-sexual style of public grinding they favor. They leave no room for daylight, much less the Holy Spirit.

The film contains much highly suggestive dancing, a single censored rough term and occasional crude and crass utterances. 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.

*****
Adam Shaw is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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