Centre Stage: Turn It Up
- Director:Steven Jacobson
- Cast:Peter Gallagher, Rachele Brooke Smith, Ethan Stiefel, Kenny Wormald
- Release Date:October 30, 2008
- Running time:95 minutes
- Film Worth:$6.50
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"...doesn’t have a fraction of its predecessor’s pizzazz."
With its exhilarating street dance sequence and grainy, hand-held camera shots, the opening scenes of Centre Stage: Turn It Up promise a dance flick with a difference. But the promise is broken within minutes. The sequel to 2000's Centre Stage doesn't have a fraction of its predecessor's pizzazz.
Centre Stage: Turn It Up follows the story of Kate Parker (Rachele Brooke Smith), a self-taught young dancer from working class Detroit who auditions for New York's prestigious American Ballet Academy. She fails in her bid to enter the fictional school and takes a job in a claustrophobic club where she "wows" patrons with her classical-flavoured street dance. Befriended by ballet student Tommy (Kenny Wormald), a predictable romance comes into play.
It's unfair to say that Smith gives a poor performance - the leaden script gives her nothing to work with - but she's eclipsed by her screen rival Suzanne (Sarah Jayne Jensen, Hairspray), the only fleshed out character. The ballet scenes, designed to contrast against the urban dancing, are the more interesting but both the dance and drama are too narrowly focused on Kate. Where the original was a colourful ensemble piece following several narratives, Turn It Up fizzles when it should fire. The ensemble dance pieces - usually the crucial dance movie ingredient - have gone AWOL.
The always interesting Peter Gallagher, who featured in the first instalment, is back as the academy's director but wisely makes only a fleeting appearance. In his directorial debut, Australian Steven Jacobson gets brownie points for trying and you do connect with these characters - eventually. But instead of entering this world, you feel as though you're watching the scenes unfold through a window...Turn It Up fails to invite you in.