“Work It” is the sleek and funny dance flick we deserve: review

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The dance film is an art form in itself.

There are masterpieces, Intensifys of the world; non-brand suites and imitations such as Feel the beat; and the hours that you would like to be able to recover (looking at you, High voltage free dance). But Netflix Work it, directed by Laura Terruso and written by Alison Peck, showcases the best of the genre, packed with a cute teen romantic comedy and killer cast.

Work it stars Sabrina Carpenter as Quinn Ackerman, an ambitious high school student who decides to create a dance team to help herself get into Duke. She teams up with best friend Jas (Liza Koshy) and they honor the humble cinematic tradition of putting together the perfect group of misfits to win the Work It! competition, under the direction of choreographer Jake Taylor (Jordan Fisher).

Work it
Credit: Brendan Adam-Zwelling / Netflix

It’s no surprise, while not the best look, that this film features so many talented artists of color but still insists on a white protagonist – a move Netflix could reconsider if it gives the green light to a similar project in the future (have we learned nothing from Save the last dance?). However, if you’re going to force the Caucasian conduit trope, you could do a lot worse than Carpenter, who has an impressive background in music and dance and whose comedic timing has hit the mark since Disney’s. Girl meets the world. Quinn’s impression of her own mother in one scene is so unexpected and gratifying that Kate McKinnon surely must have felt a stir in The Force.

Work It achieves a satisfactory balance. It takes a pro to succeed in this movement.

That said, Quinn is the obvious weak link and she knows it. She’s working hard to improve herself, not to mention an unforeseen explosion of talent so far, although it wouldn’t be a dance flick if we didn’t have that breakthrough. It’s hard for someone like Carpenter to pretend she is not a good dancer, but she gives Quinn a compelling conundrum: Even when she understands the moves, she lacks something that she needs to find – the energy, charisma, and precision that other dancers have and that Jake tries out. obviously to transmit it in private sessions of a sexual nature.

As Jake, Fisher continues to be a top crush for 2020, less button-down and less crisp than in his rant. To all the boys: PS I still love you. With tattoos, earrings, and a carefree casual wardrobe, Jake looks like the real Fisher and doesn’t even skimp on charm a little.

We also see another side of Keiynan Lonsdale as the leader of the school’s established and top dance team – not only in his own electrifying dances, but in how much he clearly enjoys playing a villain who won’t put out his fire. for no one. Koshy gives Jas a non-stop intensity that pairs just as well with her stage partners as she does with her YouTube and Vine origins. His court with a maddeningly beautiful mattress seller (Riverdale‘s Drew Ray Tanner) is the film’s most ridiculous and satisfying subplot.

Netflix Dance Team Diva Keiynan Lonsdale "Work it out."

Keiynan Lonsdale as the dance team diva in Netflix’s “Work It”.
Credit: netflix

Edited by Terruso and cinematographer Rogier Stoffers, Work it really stretches his legs when it comes to how he visualizes dancing. There’s a ballet battle, multiple practice sets, stages in studios and auditoriums, freestyle circles, and even a dance music video in the movie itself, when Quinn stealthily searches for Jake online. to see his past performance. (This is one of the best-shot scenes in the movie, and if it’s not on YouTube at the time of posting this review, I will talk to Ted Sarandos.)

Weaker dance films often get bogged down in something heavy. They force a theme that isn’t there or become obsessed with presenting a choreography that dominates the plot. Work it strikes a satisfying balance, also delivering Quinn’s quest, central romance, and engaging dance visuals that won’t disappoint the casual viewer or those of us who imagine ourselves to be competitive judges on the couch. It takes a pro to succeed in this movement.

Work It is now streaming on Netflix.


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