A down-on-her-luck dancer returns home to Wisconsin where a hometown dance studio offers her a chance to redeem herself in her profession...and her life.
I'm not saying dance movies are a bad thing, per se. I actually was a bit invested in the story arc of this movie, so I can't call it trash without condemning my own taste. However, it's not the kind of thing you'd want to spend a little under two hours watching if you didn't enjoy flicks like Step Up. It's a harmless, feelgood movie that's suitable for all ages. If you decide to watch it alongside your little ones, you don't have much to worry about. It's a charming tale (albeit using a tried-and-true formula) that explores the building of bonds and a pretty well-written redemption arc for the protagonist.
We start with our coldhearted protagonist, April, making her way to a Broadway audition, barely beating out an old lady to catch a cab in the rain. Turns out, said old lady is a powerful Broadway producer and assures April she'll 'never work in this town again.' Bummed out by the crushing defeat (and so broke she can't pay rent), April moves back to rural Wisconsin and stumbles into a chance to strut her stuff in front of the one person the powerful old lady can't stop from hiring her. The only catch is that she has to turn a backwater dance studio into a national-level competitive outfit while dealing with the people she abandoned on her first trip to Broadway. The climax of the film sees April having to choose between the thing she's dreamed about all her life or the people she came to love during the competition.
The script's composition is passable. It's nothing unusual and doesn't deal with any serious social or political issues (thank goodness). However, it does a great job of developing April's redemption arc. At the start of the film, April is a cold and untouchable young woman who lacks self-awareness despite being self-important. By the end of the film, she transforms into a woman who retains her pragmatism while reconciling it with her feelings. The script does an excellent job of developing a remarkable feelgood story.
While the film itself is a pretty decent flick, many of the characters feel a bit one-dimensional. This failure could be attributed to the script, but the casting decisions might also have to shoulder some blame. The protagonist April, played by Sofia Carson, is pretty good in her role. April seems like a real person, but she's one of the few members of the cast that do. Supporting members like Deco (Brandon Kyle Goodman), Miss Barb (Donna Lynne Champlin), and Nick (Wolfgang Novogratz) feel lifeless, and their roles seem like window dressing that hopes to keep out suspension of disbelief up. However, some unexpected star action comes out of the younger members of the cast. Sarah (Eva Hauge), Kari (Lidya Jewett), and Zuzu (Shaylee Mansfield) all help to rescue the movie from being a singular tale of a struggling adult and turn it into a relatively decent film.
There are a few moments where the story lags. We spend some time navel-gazing as April tries to figure out her next move at the start of the movie. However, this holds with her pretense of being pragmatic, as the film goes to great lengths to demonstrate. Once the plot is set in action, the movie becomes an emotional rollercoaster complete with ups and downs that you'd expect from a classic feelgood film. The plot is a bit predictable, but these films aren't mean to have twists at the end unless you're already expecting them. And you'll probably be expecting the "twist" this movie has in store.
The film is well shot and has some decent dance numbers. The training montages are predictable, as well as a few of the "impromptu" scenes, but to the film's benefit, it doesn't pretend to be a musical. There's no singing here, just dancing. It doesn't try to experiment too much with new things. It picks a formula that works, develops a story around it, and drops it in our lap with the expected result. If you're expecting award-winning composition here, then you've probably picked up the wrong movie.
Bad movies are easy to rip on, and good movies are easy to praise. "Unobtrusive" movies, like this one, are difficult because, to some viewers, it might actually be a great watch. Feelgood movies always have a place and time where they make sense. If you're feeling down and want something forgettable to watch to pick up your spirits, Feel the Beat is a great new filler. If you have kids who enjoy dancing movies, this is a perfect distraction for them. If YOU like dance movies, you'd probably appreciate the film on a different level and think it's terrific, especially since there's nothing blatantly wrong with it. The fact remains that it's a mediocre flick. It's excellent as a time-filler, but don't expect to be discussing it with friends for longer than it takes to drink a cup of latte.Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by trinikid.com