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Movie Review: Step Up 3 (PG-13)

I Hope You Dance

By Kristen Page-Kirby

There are certain pleasures to be had in bad movies. Bad acting, silly plots, one-dimensional characters, clichés—if a director can put all these into a film AND avoid making a boring film, the result is something magic.

And “Step Up 3” is a magically awful film. It’s so much fun and so unintentionally hilarious that you really should see it. Claim your daughter made you see it, claim you were kidnapped, but try not to miss it. Definitely try not to miss it in 3D—3D films always give me a headache, but this film was worth it because I got to see the Asian kid from “Glee” dance RIGHT AT ME. That’s something that’s worth popping an Advil.

So our main character is Moose (Adam G. Savani), who apparently was in “Step Up 2: The Streets,” which I didn’t see (but it’s fine. It’s easy to catch up.) Anyway, Moose and his best friend Camille (Alyson Stoner) are freshmen at NYU. And on their opening tour a dance battle breaks out! Just like at my college! And Moose wins and catches the eye of Luke (Rick Malambri, whose IMDB profile lists his first role as “Floppy Haired Guy” on “How I Met Your Mother.”), who runs a nightclub/training facility for his dance crew, the Pirates. But the Pirates might lose their space because of money and so they have to win this giant dance competition and there’s a bad guy and his crew and Luke also wants to be a filmmaker oh and he loves this girl Natalie (Sharni Vinson) but is she who she says she is seriously you have to see this movie to believe it.

Director Jon Chu manages to throw in every cliché to be found in dance movies, in movies that take place in New York City, and in 3D movies, and every minute of the film is wonderful in its embracing of the inherent cheesiness contained within. It’s not perfect—the 3D technology blurs the edges of the images, particularly the dancers’ hands and feet, so it looks like there’s a lack of precision through no fault of the dancers. There’s a tiresome, forced storyline between Moose and Camille that reminds you that Boys and Girls Cannot Be Friends, Period that could have easily been cut. But if you’re looking for silly summer fun—and, it has to be said, some gasp-worthy dancing—you could do a lot worse. And some of the dancers can even act a little bit! Savani is quite likeable, and Martin and Facundo Lombard as the identical “The Santiago Twins” (they apparently dance as “The Lombard Twins” when not in movies) are very funny.

It’s a shame it’s rated PG-13—I imagine it’s because of one f-bomb and one “bull****,” both of which could have been cut to keep a PG rating, because other than that there’s not much that’s objectionable. Some of the dancing is suggestive, but never out and out sexy. Luke appears shirtless (in 3D! Awesome.) and some of the female dancers wear sports-bra tops.

We all know that “Step Up 3” isn’t going down in the history of film as anything other than silly. But sometimes silly is just what you need.


Kristen Page-Kirby last reviewed “Despicable Me.”

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