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Featured DVD Review: Turn the Beat Around

March 8th, 2010

Turn the Beat Around - Buy from Amazon

Turn the Beat Around is the latest MTV original movie, which debuted on TV on the 26th of February and comes out on DVD this week. MTV started out playing wall-to-wall music videos (the M stood for Music) but since the 1990s music has taken a back seat to their original programming, mostly Reality TV. And most of that is of the soul-sucking variety. At the moment, I believe music videos are only played a few hours a day, a few days a week. This is a movie about music and dancing, so hopefully it represents a return to MTV's roots.

Romina D'Ugo stars as Zoe, a 21-year old working at her father's flooring store while trying to make it as a dancer. She goes with her boyfriend and fellow dancer, Chris (Adam Taylor Brooks), to audition with a "bitchy" choreographer, Malika (Brooklyn Sudano), which lands them both jobs. To celebrate, they head to a dance club only to be turned away, despite the fact that their friend, Steph (Jennifer Miller), is the D.J. After the rich owner of this club, Michael (David Giuntoli), sees them sneak in through the back door, he confronts her. Instead of tossing her out, they talk about music and she talks him into allowing Disco to be played in his club. After that goes well, he's interested in her idea to open up a Disco-theme dance club, but wants to test the waters with a massive party, one he wants her to set up. This could be her big break, but immediately her boyfriend acts like Michael is just trying to take advantage of her. Meanwhile, Malika is threatened that Michael might be replacing her as his top choreographer, so she starts making the moves on Chris as pre-emptive revenge. With these conflicts in play, the countdown to opening night is on. Will Zoe be able to hold it all together for opening night? Or will her dream fall apart at the seams?

There's not a lot of originality in this movie. It's a mish-mash of cliches from various genres. I lost count how many training montages there were. And the love triangle also comes off as stale, partly because it's been done many times before and partly because the acting comes across as a little wooden. Sometimes it is very wooden. Also, for a dance movie about disco, neither the dancing nor the music were emphasized enough in the film. Granted, I'm not a fan of disco, but for the most part the music and dancing wasn't exciting. While it wasn't terrible, I could not call it a major selling point either.

So this movie has no real surprises in the plot, many of the stars are better at dancing than they are at acting, the dancing isn't the primary focus, and the big climatic party at the end fails to live up to the buildup. It is passable as low expectations entertainment.

Extras on the DVD include a "making-of" featurette that is mostly talking heads and clips from the movie. There are also six minutes of unfinished deleted scenes that you have to play as one large chunk, but at least there are chapter breaks between scenes.

The Verdict

Turn the Beat Around doesn't break any new ground and the execution is flawed, but it is not so bad that the target audience won't be at least somewhat entertained. The DVD only has minimal extras. That's a lot of damning it with faint praise. It all adds up to a rental.

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