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Notes from the back row

The Kids aren’t all right



I'm old enough that I really can no longer claim to be in touch with the youth of today. I think dub-step is sleepy-time music and hip hop has been getting increasingly pussy-er (and watered down) since Eazy died. I ride a bmx with no suspension and I've never been to a rainbow party. As well, I'm not that into talking about my feelings, dry grads donation tins offend me and I could care less about Twilight.

But one thing the kids and I can both get into is a good dance movie. I grew up on classics like Flashdance, Footloose and Kid n Play's House Party so I can recognize that the dance movie genre is alive and kicking, even if the films are mostly full of rehashed underdog plotlines and un-subtle, pre-teen sexual innuendos. However, dance movies never get confusing even five or six bongs in.

Case in point, Step Up 3D opens this weekend at the Village 8 (except not in 3-D because even though we are a "world-class" destination Whistler is still behind shitholes like Nanaimo and Quesnel when it comes to 3D cinema technology).

Step Up 3 is directed by John Chu (the guy who totally dropped the ball on Step Up 2 ) and is a 107-minute slog of a film, full of exposition (that's plot-explaining for all you kids out there) about a group of "pirate" dancers led by an orphan who have to competitively dance their asses off in order to save their studio, which is also their home and has a literal wall of old ghetto blasters that must have been a real bitch to wire together in synch. The dancing is a mix of breakdance, parkour, capoeira, gymnastics, stripper-pole shit, lots of Robot and just a hint of classical, but director Chu shoots it too frantically for us old guys to follow.

Which sucks because beyond the dancing there is nothing to this movie at all except actors (and I use the term loosely) spouting lines like, "One move can bring people together. One move can make you believe like you're something more."

It's all bullshit of course. Dance moves have evolved but dancing is still all about the same idea that made it attractive to my generation and the previous one as well - you don't dance, you don't get laid.

I hear the youth these days are not into Will Ferrell either, which is a shame because he re-teams with director Adam McKay this week in The Other Guys. Sure, Ferrell has limited range, bordering in one-trick-pony territory, but he and McKay are also responsible for Anchorman and Talladega Nights , two of the funniest and most-quoted comedies of recent years.

This time around Ferrell pairs up with Mark Wahlberg ( The Departed, Rockstar ) in a decent take on the buddy-cop comedy. As two paper-pushing under-achievers trying to step into the role of supercops, Ferrell and Wahlberg uncover a big corporate espionage scam and the plot takes over as they solve the mystery amidst shoot-outs, car chases and a weird separation-anxiety montage that could have probably been cut.

The Other Guys is decent but not amazing. Ferrell does his improv thing, but director McKay should have trimmed it down a bit and streamlined the plot while at it. Thankfully, the real star is Wahlberg, who nails the intense screw-up role perfectly. Hot-ass Eva Mendes co-stars, bringing just the right amount of crazy, and Michael Keaton delivers a top cop performance unlike any we've seen. Also noteworthy is the appearance of Damon Wayans Jr, who seems to have inherited some of his father's comedic chops. Old men like me might not understand the kids these days but at least they're funny.