Make it Happen

Personally, I am at a total loss to see where this revived interest in dance movies has come from. I have toyed with theories about their resurgence in times of economic strife, about the importance of a cultural preference for image over substance, and its existence as a reaction to the prevalence of government and corporate messages about improving self image that weigh us down so much. But my conclusion is that they're a quick and cheap way to make a nice escapist movie without worrying about extras like special effects, character development and storyline.

The simplicity of Make it Happen (which is admittedly targeting a young audience) is what makes it so mundane. Lauren is a young girl from a small town who has always dreamed of attending the Chicago School of Music and Dance. So she of course heads there for an audition, but is it all as easy as it seems? Yes! OK, so it's not just like she leaves, auditions, and gets in, but it might as well have been for all of the difficulties she faced. In Flashdance Alex was a welder, working hard in a mans world and trying to retain her feminine core. Lauren is a kid who is a trained accountant and who everybody she encounters seems to want to help! Not the most emotionally intricate story ever.

These problems could have been forgiven if the dancing or the music had been great, but as far as I could see (and hear) it was just some generic 'urban' music to which she thrust herself around like she was being zapped with a cattle prod. There were moments where the dancing was entertaining, but broadly speaking it was supposed to indicate Lauren's individuality and personal mixture of developing confidence and sexuality an this was painfully obvious in the way the 'individuality' was shown as a conscious contrast to the previously established norm (just another dancer who doesn't like Lauren).

There are little things in the film that deserve merit though. The decision to make Lauren easy going and not image-focussed, as well as clearly inserting scenes of her eating junk food, are responsible in such a film, and the sensuality of the dancing isn't too in-you-face. So the filmmakers can sleep a little easier knowing that they are unlikely to have adversely affected trends in eating disorders or teen pregnancies. Nonetheless, these fail to make the movie any more fun and interesting. It remains a predictable movie with few attention grabbing scenes.

Make it Happen at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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