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Review: Its pitch isn’t perfect, but ‘Step Sisters’ delivers the beats (and some laughs)

Megalyn Echikunwoke in the movie "Step Sisters."
(Daniel McFadden / Netflix)

Made in the slightly melted mold of “Bring It On” and “Pitch Perfect,” this comedy brings a standard underdog story to the world of step dancing. Netflix’s almighty algorithm smartly calculated that “Step Sisters” is the type of movie that makes for good couch viewing, though it lacks the spark that makes those other films so quotable — and rewatchable.

College senior Jamilah (Megalyn Echikunwoke) will do anything to go to Harvard Law School, but she’s in danger of not receiving the recommendation letters that will ensure her admission. The dean of her university says he’ll vouch for her if she coaches a mostly white sorority in step dancing.

“Step Sisters” tries to explain that ridiculous plot, but it’s really just an excuse for extended, impressive dance sequences with jokes in between. However, there’s some genuine emotion and more than a few laughs amid this utterly inorganic plot.

“Step Sisters” takes aim at a variety of stereotypes, ranging from the overly woke white dude to the overachieving black student. Some of the racial humor lands, while other moments are likely to make viewers cringe.

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Director Charles Stone III and screenwriter Chuck Hayward have made an overlong film at 108 minutes that may try the audience’s patience at times, but their movie hits its beats enough to make fans of the genre tap their feet along with the action on screen.

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‘Step Sisters’

Rating: PG-13, for crude and sexual content, partying, language and drug references

Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

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Playing: Streaming on Netflix starting January 19

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