Skewering the song-and-dance genre with the irreverent, rude 'n' crude moves that marked the best of their "Scary Movie" franchise, the Wayans brothers (and sons and nephews) find plenty to parody in "Dance Flick."
Back in the day, they probably would have called it "You Got to Step Up 2 Be Served Hairspray and Stomp the Yard to Save the Last High School Musical," but that would have meant passing up golden opportunities presented by the likes of "Dreamgirls," "Fame" and even "Twilight."
But they manage to squeeze it all in to consistently amusing effect and in a way that just barely manages to stay within those PG-13 parameters, giving Paramount a viable alternative to battling cyborgs and lifelike museum exhibits.
Letting "Save the Last Dance" be its guide -- with Shoshana Bush and Damon Wayans Jr. deftly handling the Julia Stiles/Sean Patrick Thomas parts and Essence Atkins all but stealing the show as Wayans' sister, a high school student/single mom -- the Wayanses waste no time in leaping off in other directions.
This includes Ross Thomas channeling Channing Tatum from the "Step Up" movies, Keenen Ivory Wayans mercilessly nailing Steve Harvey circa "You Got Served," Amy Sedaris as the frighteningly aptly named dance instructor, Ms. Cameltoe, and a very large David Alan Grier doing a junk food-oriented goof on the "Dreamgirls" showstopper "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going."
Of course, not all the shtick sticks, but director Damien Dante Wayans and co-writers/family members Keenen Ivory, Shawn, Marlon and Craig have done an efficient job in keeping the laugh-to-groan ratio reasonably high.
Meanwhile, Dave Scott, who choreographed many of the films spoofed in "Dance Flick," manages the neat trick of sending up himself as well as others -- most notably a wicked take on the big street number from "Fame," staged on Paramount's historic New York backlot set.
Opens: Friday, May 22 (Paramount)
Production companies: Paramount Pictures, MTV Films
Cast: Damon Wayans Jr., Craig Wayans, Essence Atkins, Shoshana Bush
Director: Damien Dante Wayans
Screenwriters: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Craig Wayans, Damien Dante Wayans
Executive producers: Richard Vane, Craig Wayans, Damien Dante Wayans
Producers: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez
Director of photography: Mark Irwin. Production designer: Aaron Osborne
Music: Erik Willis, Dwayne Wayans
Costume designer: Judy Ruskin Howell
Editor: Scott Hill. Rated PG-13, 83 minutes
Michael Rechtshaffen writes for The Hollywood Reporter.
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