Friday, April 22, 2011

Stomp the Yard: Homecoming

Directed by Rob Hardy.
2010. Rated PG-13, 87 minutes.
Collins Pennie
Kiely Williams
Pooch Hall
Stephen Boss
David Banner
Keith David
Tika Sumpter
Columbus Short
Rickey Smiley
Jasmine Guy

Dance movies are pretty much critic-proof. Take the original Stomp the Yard, for example. It’s largely a rip-off of Drumline, right down to how the climactic battle plays out. Still, it was a modest financial success and has developed a devoted following of people who won’t hear a negative word about it. The high energy routines are infectious. People enjoy dance movies, regardless of their narrative issues. This is why Stomp the Yard was made in the first place. It’s why lots of people still tune in to cable airings of You Got Served and Honey. It’s why there have been three Step Up movies. Alas, it’s why we have Stomp the Yard: Homecoming.

Homecoming is, of course, set during homecoming weekend at fictional Truth University. Our hero from the first movie, DJ (Short) has apparently movie on in life, only appearing briefly here. By the way, Short is the film’s executive producer. This time, our wayward but talented dancer is Chance (Pennie). For continuity’s sake, he’s pledging to the same fraternity DJ did in the original, the Thetas. His major issue is he owes a thug from back home a hefty sum of money after losing a battle he thinks was fixed. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the bad guy and his cronies will be coming after him. Rap fans will recognize the bad guy is played by artist David Banner. Chance’s other issue is that even though he seems rather happy with his current girlfriend, his ex-girl that he can’t stand has come sniffing around for a roll in the hay and possibly more. Oh, there is one other thing. This is a dance movie, lest we forget. That means the Thetas are also busily preparing for the National Step Competition in which they hope to beat their arch rival fraternity, the Gammas. Yes, just like DJ was in part one, Chance isn’t so thrilled with the routine his frat brother have come up with. From there, we simply paint by numbers until our generic picture is complete.

None of this matters. Like action-flick fans looking for explosions and car chases, dance movie fans are in it for the dancing, or stepping, in this case. The stepping is a bit subpar when compared with the original movie. Budgetary constraints seem to leave it a step behind, if you will. Still, there are a few creative sequences. You get what you come for. If you’re looking for anything more, pick another movie.

MY SCORE: 3/10

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