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Save the Last Dance
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: Dr. Drew
Save the Last Dance order
Director:
Thomas Carter

Actors:
Julia Stiles
Sean Patrick Thomas
Terry Kinney

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A teenage girl (Julia Stiles) must move in with her deadbeat estranged father after her mother dies tragically in a car accident. To make matters worse, she’s forced to transfer to a brand new school where it seems as if she’s the only white student in the whole joint. Faster than you can say “cracker”, she quickly discovers hip hop, falls in love with a charming black dude (Sean Patrick Thomas) and gets her ballet career back on track.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Much like MTV’s other teen dance epic, BRING IT ON, this one is riddled with blatant stereotypes and a telegraphed story so predictable, you’ll see a plot change coming 20 minutes before it actually happens. much as I hated the textbook driven formulaic script (and it pains me to say this), I did like most of the movie and thought that it was reasonably entertaining and yes, somewhat “inspirational”. I did roll my eyes at many of the obvious plot changes where everyone seemed to fall down on their luck, only to rise back to success once again. You’ll see it coming a mile away but again, kudos to MTV for perfecting the teen/drama formula down to a tee. And even though some of it is painfully cheesy, you can’t deny that it makes for fun viewing. They’ve managed to nail the whole genre and while they continually pump out variations of the same film, it works in blending humor, romantic themes and a half decent story.

My biggest beef with the movie was the cardboard cutouts played by many of its characters. The movie really doesn’t break any new ground here and basically digs up every possible ghetto stereotype you can imagine. You’ve got your single mom, the deadbeat dad, the drug dealing thug and everyone’s favorite, the hoochie momma beeyatch. Beyond the painful characters, the director basically uses every bad movie cliché imaginable to achieve the “reach for your dreams” effect. We get endless Rocky-esque montages where we watch Julia Stiles shake her ass and dance herself silly while listening to the carefully groomed hip hop soundtrack. On a side note, whenever I listen to Julia Stiles speak, I can’t help but think that she’s got a man’s voice. She’s still very cute but whenever she opens her mouth, it kind of freaks me out a bit. With all of the other things considered, if you’re under the age of 25 and looking for some fun times, Save the Last Dance should fill your movie-going needs.
THE EXTRAS
Kicking off the supplements is a 19-minute “Making Of” documentary which without sugarcoating things, is nothing more than a fluff piece which provides more clips from the movie than anything else. Sure, you get your usual dose of interviews but you won’t really learn too much about the flick. I’d suggest listening to the commentary track instead. Next up is “Cast and Crew Interviews” which basically continues along the same vibe as the documentary. It’s a 12-minute look at how the movie came together which also throws in some brief glances at Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas practicing their dance moves.

Next up are 4 deleted scenes which are probably the most worthwhile extra on the disc. All of them work well in adding significant development to many of the characters and in one situation, basically changed my opinion of the deadbeat father. Finishing things up is the music video for the kick ass song “Crazy” by K-Ci and JoJo which serves as the title track and lead single for the movie’s soundtrack (DVD Clinic Fun Fact: Singer K-Ci was charged d a few months back for allegedly “exposing himself” while onstage during a concert performance…yikes!). The original theatrical trailer is also included. The DVD’s main menus are fully animated and do feature a funky hip hop flavored beat.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Quickly summing up the entire DVD, this one has “rental” written all over it. From the mediocre movie to the run of the mill extras, it screams video store fare. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re desperately searching for a urban/ hip hop update on the whole DIRTY DANCING formula, Save the Last Dance is about as close as you’re going to get.
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