Jordan Fisher Makes Dance Movie Magic in Netflix’s “Work It”
Photo: Elly Dassas / Netflix
I don’t know what it is about dance competition films that I find so exciting. They’re deeply predictable, the stakes couldn’t be lower, and they’re almost infallibly cheesy, but every time I watch one I feel totally elated. And this is precisely what I felt as I watched Work it, the new dance film from Netflix, released today.
The story follows Quinn (Sabrina Carpenter), a seasoned PA student whose sole purpose in life is to enter the alma mater of her late father, Duke. She accidentally tricks the admissions manager into thinking she’s part of her high school’s award-winning dance team, the Thunderbirds, led by Isaiah, performed by Keiynan Lonsdale (all you need to know about him is that ‘he makes everyone call him “Juilliard”). The admissions manager is impressed and leaves Quinn with the promise of seeing her at “Work It”, the big dance competition.
Sure, she bombards her audition with the Thunderbirds, but decides to start her own dance team out of a motley group of untrained dancers. Things seem hopeless until Quinn convinces legendary Jake Taylor (Jordan Fisher) – a dancer whose promising career was cut short due to injury – to be their choreographer. As the team improves, Quinn begins to think less about college and more about her love of dancing and Jake Taylor’s dreamy smile.
Speaking of which, the film does a good job of showcasing the formidable talents of Fisher, one of my beloved crushes. Unlike his last film, To all the boys I’ve loved before: PS I still love you, Work it gives Fisher full reign to be the dashing Renaissance man that he is: we make him play the piano, dance, sing a little bit, and spend a lot of time being charming and charismatic.
East Work it nothing new? Absolutely not. It will remind you of the following: Bring it on, Musical High School, Perfect, Intensify, and other films about the tough trials competing for something. What’s (mostly) new, however, is that the majority of the main cast are people of color. What is that Work it What has in common with its predecessors is that it is also a fantastic film: “It was honestly the best film I have ever watched,” wrote Google critic Paris Barnes; “Well, I admit I’m not good at dancing, but watching Quinn makes me want to shake my body,” Seth Bernice added. These two feelings encompass how I feel about this movie.
In short, Work it is the kind of light, inspiring Disney fare that makes you want to get really good at whatever the movie is about: surfing, team sports, baking, whatever. It’s fun to watch and then you say, “Shit, that was so cool. I have to learn how to do this. Of course, you never do. But seeing it again and again is pretty close.