By Fred Topel | Images property of Paramount Pictures
The first 20 minutes of Dance Flick is the best Wayans movie since the first Scary Movie. The Wayans’ are in top form taking the benchmarks of dance movies to an extreme degree. They can’t keep it up, but it remains a solid satire with more to say than many quickie knock-offs.
Movie Review: Dance Flick
There is a little bit of actual dancing before the joke, which sets the joke up in a real context. Some of the vulgar dance gags really take the idea of smack and fronting to the immature level it deserves.
There are some smarter, timely references from the social issues of insurance and the oil crisis to celebrity scandals. These may not remain funny 10 years from now, but at least they have something to say about current events. They’re not just mentioning Myspace and Facebook to show how hip they are.
The Wayans’ really knows the material they’re working with. They take apart the dance movies with love, not cynicism. They’re happy to be silly. I mean, there’s a pie in the face gag! They give shout-outs to the old school dance flicks too with a little Fame and Flashdance in there.
The characters are just kind of real enough to be ridiculous when they do spoof stuff. I mean, as real as the characters in Step Up and High School Musical. You’d buy that they’re motivated by deaths in the family and overcoming insecurities to dance. Then they fall down.
There’s a sort of update on the old “Don’t call me Shirley” style humor where people get literal with expressions. The spoof songs are a little weak, but kind of equal to the High School Musical songs.
By the middle, the film middles (is that where that word comes from?) Still, it sticks to the plan. They’re still making jokes about dance movie clichés, but they’re less sharp. At least it’s not just a list of things you’ve seen before, so they’re doing it again. The deadbeat dad jokes are too obvious, but I guess it’s the only role for the grown-up Wayans boys.
Dance Flick is certainly a worthy spoof of the genre. It’s not wasted like Not Another Teen Movie, The Comebacks or Superhero Movie. It’s no Naked Gun or Walk Hard, but it’s at least Scary Movie 3. Dance Flick opens to theaters February 6th.