Tyler Gage (Tatum Channing) is a degenerate in dire need of direction and a
role model. The at-risk teen lives in a rundown, Baltimore row house with a couple of other orphans left there by the state in the hands of alcoholic foster parents who are in it more for the money than out of a concern for the welfare of the kids.
One day, after he breaks into the Maryland School for the Arts with mayhem
in mind, Tyler ends up arrested and carted off to jail. Rather than give the juvenile delinquent jail time, the judge decides to sentence him to 200 hours of community service as a janitor at the very institution where he was apprehended.
This turns out to be a blessing in disguise for the rhythmically-blessed felon, for his only constructive talent happens to be freestyle street-dancing. And while mopping floors as assigned, he locks eyes with Nora (Jenna Dewan), the sexiest girl on the premises, as she prances about in stiletto heels while practicing in a dance studio for a critical, upcoming talent showcase.
Then, her partner, Andrew (Tim Lacatena), conveniently sprains his ankle, leaving the poor thing in urgent need of a replacement with her audition just two weeks away. This development dovetails perfectly with the arrival of Tyler, for he soon sweeps Nora off her feet, literally and figuratively.
Step Up revolves around their rich girl-poor boy romance, one of the more
enjoyable across-the-tracks love stories in a long time. Sure the plot is fairly predictable as it winds it way to a syrupy sweet finale, but veteran choreographer-turned-director Anne Fletcher’s dazzling dance sequences and spectacular cinematography along the waterfront more than make-up for the absence of the element of surprise. Harmless, formulaic fun.