'How She Move'
(Conrad Coates, Rutina Wesley, Djanet Sears, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (2007) 2008 / Paramount)
Overview: How She Move is an energetic gritty and ultimately inspiring coming of age tale about a gifted young woman who defies all the rules as she step dances her heart out to achieve her dreams. Featuring a fresh cast of new discoveries this Sundance Film Festival hit marks the feature film debut of the electric RUTINA WESLEY with street-style step sequences by top choreographer Hi Hat and special appearances by R&B singer-songwriter Keyshia Cole and comedian DeRay Davis.
DVD Verdict: The urban-dance drama, "How She Moves," springs to life only when its high-energy, talented cast members are kicking up their heels and strutting their stuff for the camera. Otherwise, this stale strive-suffer-and-succeed story is low on energy, low on originality, and low on anything that might make the movie stand out from the dozens of other likeminded films that have come before it.
Rutina Wesley has modest appeal as the academically gifted inner-city youngster who finds that the best way for her to raise her private school tuition money is by entering step-dance competitions, but both she and her fellow actors are poorly served by uninspired screenwriting and undistinguished direction. As noted earlier, the movie achieves some spark when the performers are up on stage dancing, but such moments are far too few and sadly fleeting.
Indeed, the real answer lies with the entertainment. Some of the situations and tension we've experienced in similar films with praiseworthy themes, but the real star of the movie is the dancing. When that comes front and center, we get a real extravaganza. Sort of the 'American Idol - The Best of Seasons 1 - 4' of the stomp experience, the contest, `Step Monster' is a real spectrum of choreography and flair. And it is in this way that 'How She Move' is most effective: When it lets the dancing do the talking. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Characters of 'How She Move' - Featurette
'How She Move': From Rehearsal to Film - Featurette
'How She Move': Telling Her Story