A brooding hottie from the Baltimore streets, Channing Tatum performs community service hours at the performing arts school he and his homies vandalized. There, he meets pretty, privileged Jenna Dewan, an aspiring dancer who needs a new partner for the Senior Showcase; if her recital doesn't score her a job, she'll have to (gasp!) go to college. When Dewan spies Tatum doing some dope hip-hop moves, she asks him to be her rehearsal bud.
You can guess where it goes from there--a little dancing, a little romance, a lot of lead-footed scripting. Bland Tatum--who expresses emotion, mostly by clenching his jaw--generates few sparks with Dewan, and Rachel Griffiths--so good in Six Feet Under--is relegated to the prim school-director role. Yeah, there's some cool dancing, but it's not imaginatively lensed, and this whole, by-the-numbers routine takes itself way too seriously. Y'all won't be trippin' 'bout Step.
--Matt Stevens
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