In the world of the dance movie, life is stripped down to the honesty of bodies in motion and a rhythm-dictated intimacy that can't be denied. There's usually a class factor, a competitive element, a disapproving authority figure, or perhaps all three. Channing Tatum as budding criminal Tyler — all slot eyes and thug shrugs until he hits the dance floor — and Jenna Dewan as Nora, a rich kid shooting for that elusive chance to dance.
The meet-cute: When Nora's partner is injured, Tyler, who's trudging through some court-ordered janitorial work, convinces her he can sub. But Step doesn't dwell on class-crossed romance: It's more concerned with the pirouetting mini-betrayals and miracle catches of partnership. Tatum has a bracing rectangular naturalness and easy chemistry with the lithe Dewan, on the floor and off. Their dance styles never really jell, and the movie is lazy-vague on the actual art form, privileging will over skill. But the pair is fused by the film's pulsing energy, which is both sincere and irresistible.
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