Dance Flick movie review - The spectacle of David Alan Grier break-dancing in a fat suit is one of half a dozen uproarious scenes in “Dance Flick,” the Wayans family’s explosively funny spoof. Bouncing on the dance floor like a lead balloon, this heaving blob of a character, known as Sugar Bear, opens a gaping fissure with each collision and ends up squashing a bystander flatter than a pancake.
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A loan shark and drug lord with a cuddly name, Sugar Bear spends his days stuffing his face with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and pumpkin pie, a package of sugar by his side. Mr. Grier ultimately steals the movie with a tour-de-force parody of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” from “Dreamgirls,” in which “You’re gonna love me” becomes “You’re gonna feed me.”
In a Zac Efron caricature that’s almost as funny, the decidedly un-macho son (Brennan Hillard) of the basketball coach at Music High School, where much of the movie takes place, flounces happily into the street, trailed by admiring fellow students as he crows a version of “Fame” whose title exclamation has been changed to “Gay!”
Between production numbers, “Dance Flick,” directed by Damien Dante Wayans from a screenplay he wrote with four other members of the Wayans clan (Keenen Ivory, Shawn, Marlon and Craig), pieces together a ridiculous generic story. Like every other Wayans family farce, it has a 10-second attention span.
In the early scenes the plans of its heroine, Megan (Shoshana Bush), a ferociously ambitious ballet hopeful, are interrupted by a car crash that kills her mother on the way to a Juilliard audition. Even this tragedy (which is later re-enacted as a comic ballet) is played for laughs, as rescue workers ignore the mother trapped under the vehicle and greedily scoop up leaking gasoline.
“Dance Flick” offers a nonstop barrage of jokes and quotations from movies and television that are all the funnier if you know the sources, although familiarity is not required. Besides “Dreamgirls” and “High School Musical,” references include “Flashdance,” “Step Up,” “Save the Last Dance,” “You Got Served,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Black Snake Moan,” “Twilight,” “Hairspray” and Heather Mills in “Dancing With the Stars.”
The Wayans style, established in the first two “Scary Movies,” relies on the density of jokes that push the acceptable bounds of taste to keep the comedy aloft. A free-for-all of gross-out humor, “Dance Flick” lets racial and sexual jokes fly. Amy Sedaris is especially funny as the school’s tart-tongued dance teacher, who has a prominent anatomical abnormality. The drama teacher, Mr. Moody (Marlon Wayans), teaches his male acting students to react by punching them hard in the face or kissing them full on the mouth.
Megan auditions for Juilliard, writhing to Rick James’s “Super Freak,” which is not exactly what the judges had expected. She eventually lands in Music High School, where she is befriended by Charity (Essence Atkins), a single mother who blithely stashes her infant in her locker during school hours. The child’s father, Baby Daddy (Shawn Wayans), appears now and then and generously provides a snapshot of himself so his son can see his face every morning. Megan begins a fraught romance with Charity’s brother, Thomas (Damon Wayans Jr.), a leader of a dance crew that is in debt to the villainous Sugar Bear.
The cramming together of so much potentially offensive humor has a reverse effect. In a watchdog culture where candid remarks and clothing choices are continually weighed on the Internet as to whether so-and-so or such-and-such is going too far, “Dance Flick” exhales the rank humidity accumulated in a climate of obsessive caution. Its belly laughs leave you feeling liberated and not guilty; I repeat, not guilty
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