After flashing a dismal dance move that would make "Dancing With the Stars" judge Len Goodman weep uncontrollably, the emcee in the Wayans brothers' latest parody, "Dance Flick," holds his nose and proclaims, "That's not just bad. That's everything on the CW bad."
What the character couldn't say -- but probably should for the Wayans' sake -- was that the dancing was way worse than just about any of the sorry sketches found in the proliferation of parody movies that followed the Wayans' deadly funny "Scary Movie."
The Wayans had nothing to do with these fatigued exercises in tedium -- think "Date Movie" and "Epic Movie" -- but the assumption remains that they did, tainting "Dance Flick" by association. But this send-up, created in large part by new-generation family members Damon Jr., Craig and Damien Dante Wayans, possesses a more nimble comic footing. We'll stop short of calling it grace, given that the movie's second joke involves a dance competitor sticking his head up his behind.
Yes, it's that kind of comedy, a buzz saw grinding its way through formulas found in recent dance movies such as "Step Up," "Stomp the Yard" and "You Got Served," not to mention the "classics" such as "Flashdance" and "Fame." The latter comes into play when a Zac Efron-styled high school student makes like Irene Cara and sings not about living forever, but coming out with ... um ... pride.
Efron should probably pass on seeing this one, likewise Halle Berry, who sets one of the "plot" points in motion with a gruesome hit-and-run accident. For these new Wayans, every scene can be improved by adding a violent beating. Example: A Ray Charles stand-in shows up, ostensibly only to spill hot coffee in his mother's lap. (Yes, he hits the road, Jack.)
The miss-and-hit parodies score best when focusing on the Julia Stiles-styled girl next door (Shoshana Bush) chasing her dream of becoming a ballet dancer while attending Musical High. It's not in the Wayans' family makeup to develop an actual plot with connective tissue, but had they stayed within the school's corridors, they could have had a lot more fun with Marlon Wayans' aptly named drama teacher, Mr. Moody, and the vindictive girls' gym instructor (Heather McDonald), whose name, like most of the movie's humor, we dare not speak.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times