Hollywood has cranked out a surprisingly amount of formulaic dance flicks over the years touching on every style from stepping, krumping to break dancing -- all usually based in an urban inner city neighborhood. The latest offering is “How She Move,” an infectious drama that pulsates with energetic dance moves.
Newcomer Rutina Wesley plays Raya, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants who is forced to leave the exclusive Seaton Academy and return to her drug infested neighborhood when her sister dies of an overdose. Feeling trapped and seeking a way out, she learns of an exclusive step competition with a $50,000 cash prize that could change her fate. With the prize usually won by male contestants, Raya must prove against all odds, that she has the chops to make the cut.
While the story feels overly familiar and contains few surprises, “Move” clearly puts its time, energy and promotion into its dance sequences and anyone who plans see the movie will certainly be entertained with the street-style step and awe-inspiring dance sequences by top choreographer Hi-Hat.
Alive with infectious rhythms, likable characters and slick dance moves, it gives clichés a good name. The charms of the film mainly come from its talented cast that includes the Julliard trained Wesley and her co-star Dwain Murphy. Leader of the all male dance team JSJ, Murphy is a familiar face in his Canadian hometown and won the role in a series of flashy auditions that left the filmmakers extremely impressed his acting chops.
“I started off auditioning just like every other actor across North America who auditioned for this movie. I was one of many thousands and I just worked my way from a small part to a lead part. They kept asking me to come back to do leads and I just kept on making sure that I did what they liked. I had zero percent dancing experience and it was just an audition I went out for,” Murphy says.
Platinum-selling R&B artist Keyshia Cole and stand-up comedian DeRay Davis, the film’s two most recognizable stars, also make an appearance as MCs at the Step Monster competition.
Entertaining enough to please its intended audience, “Move” plays on the wide-eyed belief of redemption through hard work and is refreshingly optimistic. Given its predictability, the two reasons to see this one is for its rhythmic step dancing -- which should come with a caution label and the introduction to a relatively new and talented leading cast.