You Got Served

on January 30, 2004 by Tim Cogshell
The competitive world of urban street dancing is the setting for "You Got Served," a sort of latter-day "Wild Style" meets "Krush Groove" without the soul. But soul is a hard commodity to come by, and it's obnoxious to bemoan its absence in a fairly vacuous dance movie. The only fair standard by which one should judge a movie like "You Got Served" is that of successful vacuous dance movies past--i.e., movies we like despite the fact that they're dumb, because the dancing is wicked cool: "Flashdance," "Footloose," "A Chorus Line."

As narratives go, it's no "Saturday Night Fever": A couple of childhood friends run a hot crew of street dancers and harbor dreams of starting their own studio. Hip-hop singers Omarion of B2K and Marques Houston of IMX are solidly middlin' actors, but jeez they can dance. For the most part it plays out at an MTV dance competition featuring a lot of star-powered cameos. There's a little back-stabbing and the standard redemption plot, and an odd race issue involving a rival dance team made up of a bunch of white boys from Orange County.

Writer/director Chris Stokes (helmer of the straight-to-video "House Party IV" and manager of B2K and IMX) doesn't exactly mangle the dance sequences, but he's no Busby Berkeley. He likes to cut on the beat and is enamored with close-ups, both of which are irritating and do a disservice to the athleticism of these dancers. But, like in many dance movies at which we like to look down our cinematic noses, when it comes to the dancing, "You Got Served" works very well on its own terms. Starring Omarion, Marques Houston, Raz-B, Lil' Fizz, Jennifer Freeman, Meagan Good, J-Boog, Christopher Jones, Lil' Kim and Steve Harvey. Directed and written by Chris Stokes. Produced by Marcus Morton, Billy Pollina and Cassius Weathersby. A Screen Gems release. Drama/Musical. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and sexual references. Running time: 93 min

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