AWFJ Women On Film – “Dance Flick” – Susan Granger reviews

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With the recent influx of museum guard, robotic warrior and sci-fi adventure movies, it’s easy to over look the latest Wayans family satire, and you wouldn’t be missing much.

In the opening sequence, one character urinates on his rival – and that sets the tone. Working within a plot lifted from musicals like “Step Up,” “Save the Last Dance,” “You Got Served,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Footloose,” “High School Musical,” “Flashdance,” “Dreamgirls” “Hairspray,” among others – with a nod to “Twilight” – Thomas Uncles (Damon Wayans Jr.) is a street dancer from the wrong side of the tracks who becomes involved at Music High School with Megan White (Shoshana Bush), a fiercely ambitious ballet hopeful whose mother is killed in a car crash on the way to a Julliard audition.

Megan’s friend Charity (Essence Atkins) is a teenage mom who casually stashes her baby son in her locker during school hours since his father, Baby Daddy (Shawn Wayans), is elsewhere. Thomas Uncles is Charity’s brother – and his hip-hop team is known as the Uncle Toms. Complications occur because of Thomas’ debt to the obese gangsta Sugar Bear (David Alan Grier), who continually munches Krispy Kreme doughnuts and pumpkin pie yet manages a memorable break-dance in a fat-suit.

Teachers are played by Marlon Wayans and Amy Sedaris with Brennan Hillard as the notso-macho son of the basketball coach who flounces into the street singing “Gay” in his own raucous version of “Fame.”

In the past, the senior Wayanses spoofed blaxploitation in “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and slashers in the “Scary Movie” franchise, igniting a spate of copycats like “Epic Movie,” “Date Movie” and “Disaster Movie.” Now, nephew Damien Dante Wayans takes over as director, working from a screenplay he wrote with other Wayanses (Keenen Ivory, Shawn, Marlon and Craig). Dumb toilet humor prevails, along with demeaning, surprisingly dated racial and ethnic parodies. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Dance Flick” is a crude, offensive, amateurish 3, exhibiting all the wrong moves since the nimble bits are in the trailer.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.