So I managed to get Tech Support to rent Step Up. I had no grand illusions about what I was renting. I wanted something with just enough conflict to keep the story going and extra cheese on top.
Which is what I got.
But what invariable happens to me when watching a large percentage of these kind of movies (romantic films, not always teen ones) is that disappointed feeling that this could have been better. Silliness and schmaltziness arise more out of the execution than the concept.
For starters, they needed to rewrite that dialog. Often repeated advice for writing says "show, don't tell". That would have helped here. Characters don't need to expound directly about their problems (in small words) for us to know they are having them.
Next, the girl needed a character arc. They had a character arc set up for her, but it didn't actually arc. It went something like:
"She's too set in her ways, she needs to try new things."
"Hey Nora, I have this idea. It's a new thing."
"New thing? Cool. I like new things."
Huh? Where was the struggle? The resistance? Naw, she was down with everything if the hottie from the other side of the tracks mentioned it. As a result, all her growth happened in one unsatisfying scene.
Ridiculous conflict arising from relatively small infractions. "You went to dance at this school rather than hang out with me, I'm NEVER TALKING TO YOU AGAIN." Seems a bit overblown. The friendship could have turned awkward without needing to dip into the ridiculous.
And, conversely, set up for a conflict that never happened. While I appreciated his poor background never being an excuse for his actions, it was odd that it never came up. What's the point of two characters coming from different worlds if it doesn't come up between them?
Tech Support put it most aptly after the movie ended and went back to the DVD Menu.
"Hey, deleted scenes. Maybe that's where all the tension and development went."