We have characters idenitified or shaded out by their looks, including our hero Ren who has a style borrowed from the big screen and everything from James Dean all the way down the ladder to Grease; we have a dance sequence set in a drive-in where the excitement of dance replaces the excitement of the movie – except, for the audience where, in theory at least, they’re the same thing; we have the kind of dialogue that belongs on movie land but not real life.
In the scene, one of Ren’s friends gets some sort of “Crunk” music played over the PA at the Drive-In. It’s called Crunk, right? I’m an old man…
Well, the music is played, and people have a good old dance. It’s relatively plausible dancing – everybody is good, but there’s no big, all-at-once synchronised stuff that would have required a morning of group rehearsing.
The overt sexuality, if not outright sexiness of the dancing is discussed a little – at least from one side – with our heroine Ariel Moore challenging her boyfriend character (ie. the guy she’s going to ditch for Ren) over his reaction to the girls’ sauced-up moves. Her next move is to do some sexy dancing of her own, and then she ups the ante further by employing Ren. This will be our first look at th e two leads dancing together in the film.
And then Ren realises he’s a pawn in her game, and bails. Meanwhile, the Rev. Shaw Moore, played by Dennis Quaid, has rolled up to get his daughter and fun’s over for the evening…
Aesthetically, it looks more like a Step Up than I had hoped, and I’m going to be looking for more footage to show us what else, if anything, Brewer and the filmmakers have up their sleeves. Worst case scenario, this is going to be Footloose all over again, pretty well polished and measured but trapped in a cage of genre tropes that it doesn’t have the pluck to transcend.
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