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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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Sharbel Makhluf: Although this saint never traveled far from the Lebanese village of Beka-Kafra, where he was born, his influence has spread widely. 
<p>Joseph Zaroun Makluf was raised by an uncle because his father, a mule driver, died when Joseph was only three. At the age of 23, Joseph joined the Monastery of St. Maron at Annaya, Lebanon, and took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. He professed his final vows in 1853 and was ordained six years later. </p><p>Following the example of the fifth-century St. Maron, Sharbel lived as a hermit from 1875 until his death. His reputation for holiness prompted people to seek him to receive a blessing and to be remembered in his prayers. He followed a strict fast and was very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. When his superiors occasionally asked him to administer the sacraments to nearby villages, Sharbel did so gladly. </p><p>He died in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Christians and non-Christians soon made his tomb a place of pilgrimage and of cures. Pope Paul VI beatified him in 1965 and canonized him 12 years later.</p> American Catholic Blog Bluntly put, children are amateur and immature observers. In the short term, they aren’t always attracted to even the best of examples. Only as they move beyond childhood do they come to fully appreciate and emulate their parents’ ways. Much of good parenting doesn’t make its mark until years later.

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