Step Up: All In a dependably dance-filled charm machine

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Starring Ryan Guzman and Briana Evigan. Rated PG. Now playing

Is there any place less street than Vegas’s Caesars Palace? The locale of the latest dance flick in the ever-popular Step Up franchise shows just how far the movie has strayed from hip-hop’s roots. And befitting Sin City, the dance routines here are glitzy, high-concept numbers with elaborate, themed costumes—think mad scientists, steam punks, and samurai. Style takes precedence here over breaking moves.

As usual, there’s an underdog who has to put together a crew to take on rivals at an international battle. In this case, down-and-out Sean (hunkster Ryan Guzman) sees an ad for a giant, glam battle hosted by a VH1 star in Vegas, and he puts together an all-star of past rainbow-nation Step Up dancers, including Moose (Adam Sevani) and freaky Argentine twins Facundo and Martín Lombard. You know as soon as tough-girl Andie (Demi Moore–voiced Briana Evigan from Step Up 2, who seems to have been hired mostly for her ever-bared abs) displays disdain for Sean that she’s going to get together with him.

This is rote stuff, by now as predictable as the “Homie” tuques and mesh football shirts the crew wears, but Step Up remains a refreshingly innocent, dependably dance-filled charm machine five installments in. There’s only one carefully placed F-bomb, smoothies are the dancers’ drink of choice, and Sean and Moose prefer to hang at the chachka-filled house of the latter’s parents. The gang practises at the Moose seniors’ old-school dance studio, which you’ll recognize as Victory Square’s atmospheric Dancey Ballroom and Dance Studio.

The dance numbers are dazzling enough, though more Michael Jackson than Rock Steady. The characters? Some are fun: wait till you see a slick-haired cha-cha teacher in tango shoes bust some killer floor spins.

But Step Up has definitely gone Vegas, baby—and that may be too far from the ’hood to appeal to the die-hard B-boys and -girls out there.

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