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Review: ‘Dance Baby Dance’ taps out predictable, poorly-made story

Hayley Shukiar and Stephen Kogon in the movie "Dance Baby Dance."
(Indie Rights)

Bad movies can inspire derision or disappointment, but indie comedy “Dance Baby Dance” mostly just evokes pity. Writer, director, producer and star Stephen Kogon is clearly trying his hardest to create an entertaining film fueled by a passion for tap dance, but what’s on screen demonstrates an utter lack of filmmaking knowledge.

Despite a nagging knee injury and an aging body, Jimmy Percer (Kogon) has never given up his dream of being a professional tap dancer. An upcoming showcase offers the opportunity for a spot with a tour group, but he’ll have to outperform other dancers to make the cut.

“Dance Baby Dance” is painfully earnest in its underdog story, which feels familiar in its inspirational beats. Kogon has recruited some recognizable TV talent (Beverley Mitchell, Jim O’Heir and Carlos Alazraqui), and tap fans will love seeing — and hearing — the dance style represented on screen. However, those outside the form will find little to recommend the movie. Kogon’s film doesn’t just suffer from a predictable script; basic tenets of cinematography, lighting and editing are either ignored by or unfamiliar to those behind the camera.

“Loving something just isn’t enough,” a naysayer tells Jimmy about his chances of making the tour, and it’s hard not to apply this thinking to “Dance Baby Dance.” Jimmy ignores the advice, but audiences who make it through this movie will wish that Kogon hadn’t.

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‘Dance Baby Dance’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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