Movie News & Reviews

Early urinating dooms 'Dance Flick'

I may never have felt more doomed gearing up to see a movie than Ifelt on my way to see Dance Flick.

-- Times, theaters.

You know how in medieval war movies when two kings are fighting over abog or something, they go and drag the entire population of Englandout to chop each other into kidney pudding? And since everyone isalways drinking ale instead of water, the best battle plan they cancome up with is to find a big open field, throw a speech at their menabout how dying is awesome, and then just have 10,000 men onfoot run at each other as fast as they can?

I felt like the guy at the front who realizes a second too late he'srunning just a little faster than everyone behind him. Because allpossibilities exist simultaneously in an infinitude of universes, itis theoretically possible that I will kill the first man I meet andthen go on to hack down the 9,999 behind him. But if I had money -- andI obviously don't, because I'm some idiot foot soldier who'll neversee an ounce of peat from that bog -- I would put it on me dyinghorribly before my feet even stopped running. And that DanceFlick would be crap.

Damon Wayans, Jr. runs with a crew of street dancers in deep tocrimelord David Alan Grier. But Grier's one of those niceloansharks -- you can tell because he's wearing an enormous fatsuit, andit's hard to be upset about anything when you weigh 600 pounds -- so hegives them until the end of the week to pay him back.

Meanwhile, Shoshana Bush has just moved to the city and Wayans' highschool following the ballet-related death of her mother. She's swornoff dance forever, but Wayans' passion and well-defined thighs mightbe just what she needs to rekindle her dreams.

Not that there's any real attempt at a story in Dance Flick, asupremely lame spoof comedy whose idea of satire is to cut wholecharacters and scenes from other dance movies and patch them up intoone big stupid quilt that needs to have the pox burned out of it.Attacking this toothless movie is like attacking one of thosecancer-dogs who wags its tail all day long because it has no idea whoanyone is any more, but screw it — I'm a bad person.

That sense of a barely-there plot overwhelmed by a barrage ofarbitrary gags may have something to do with the fact DanceFlick was written so many different Wayanses that some of themhaven't even been born yet. Remember the stripper theory ofscreenwriters: one or two is fine, any more than that and everyonejust gets confused and bad-sweaty. The movie's writing credits readlike that first draft of War and Peace where Tolstoy lost ithalfway through and started copying the backs of cereal boxes for 1,200pages.

Yet for all those scribes scrabbling for all those jokes, all theymanaged was about two real laughs. The rest is a poison stew of blandwriting, unimaginative spoofing, edgeless social commentary, and bodyfunction humor where the joke is that it's gross.

The main problem is one of tone. In trying to crack wise abouteverything, Dance Flick has nothing at its center to tie itselftogether with, comedically or otherwise.

I like to find something positive about everything I watch, so heregoes: Wayans Jr.'s thug friend Affion Crockett is a funny man anddeserves to be in actual movies. Also, there was room for way moreeye-rolling physical comedy than they actually used. Kudos on therestraint, Wayanses. This could have been much more insufferable.

Still, when your movie has a man urinating in another man's facewithin the first minute of screen time, you're either looking at amasterpiece or a movie where people bolt out of the theater so fastthey somehow leave flaming tire treads on the carpet. Guess which?

Grade: D