by Rick Grant
Grade: C+ / PG-13 / 83 min
Two Generations of the Wayan clan participate in this parody of every dance movie ever released, except Dirty Dancing. The DD scene was cut because it was too dirty. Damon Wayan Jr. portrays the lead character, Thomas Uncles (His battle dance group is dubbed the Uncle Toms) who falls for a lily white girl, Megan (Shoshana Bush).
Cue the mixed racial couple cliches. Yes, the Wayans have a field day sending up these formulaic movies. The Wayans have satirized other genres such as Scary Movie (ad nauseam) and the awful White Chicks.
Damien Dante Wayans wrote and directed this skit-styled comedy with mostly funny scenes. A few of the gags are either not funny or cross-over into vulgar banality. Still, the laugh level remains high throughout the film. Black/white stereotypes are lambasted along with differences among black women being divided into ugly or pretty stereotypes. Megan’s friend Charity is hot so she keeps ugly friends to make her look even hotter.
Megan has a baby which she all but ignores. She stashes the kid inside her locker while she attends classes, and she takes the infant to nightclubs, ordering milk drinks for him. This is more of a protest statement than a comedic segment. Again, the Wayans are equal opportunity satirizers-no one is spared.
The gay guy whose dad is the basketball coach tries to tell his dad he’s gay. But, the macho dad is blind to his son’s gay affectations. He naively clashes with his son’s gay fantasies. Finally the kid comes out for the High School Musical, Wayans’ style.
The premise involves Megan’s desire to rejuvenate her dancing career, which she never really had, but never mind. She recruits the geek squad to be her street dance battle team.
An obese gangster named Sugar Bear (David Alan Grier) wants his money from another dance contest, but Thomas doesn’t have it. So, he is desperate to arrange a dance showdown with the competition. This builds momentum to the final showdown.
The dance gags are funny and taken to the extreme, with one guy spinning so fast, he takes off like a helicopter. Another guy slides across the floor on his head, then out on the street where he has to stop for another guy crossing the street on his head.
It’s good clean fun most of the time. Men wearing short pants with roller skates is suddenly hip, and any other fad is send up with abandon by the Wayans. Director, Dante Wayans pacing is choppy at times, as the skits do not necessarily seque into one another. Some of the edits are obvious as the scene skips into another idea. The viewer has to be on the Wayans wavelength as these wacky brothers revel in their comedic glory.
When Megan and Charity are on their way to the dance battle, Charity redresses Megan in the car to make her more street, and out steps a black girl. But, Megan maintains her suburban whiteness as the gang prepares from the final battle.
Overall, it’s a funny frolic into the nutty minds of the Wayans as they create their ultimate satire of dance films and high school musicals. It’s worth viewing if viewers are sick of dance movies and high school hijinks.
No matter how old the Wayans get, they’ll never grow up when it comes to comedy. And viewers looking for laughs are grateful.
by Rick Grant