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Save the Last Dance (SE)
DVD disk
Sep 29, 2006 By: Quigles
Save the Last Dance (SE) order
Director:
Thomas Carter

Actors:
Julia Stiles
Sean Patrick Thomas
Kerry Washington

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A ballet dancing suburban girl deals with the death of her mother as she moves to the ghetto and discovers hip hop.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
For a movie that's only five years old, SAVE THE LAST DANCE already feels very dated. It's part of a predictable, clichd genre that Hollywood producers just keep pumping more out of, and now it's to a point where they've done just about everything to death (cheerleading in BRING IT ON, ballroom dancing in TAKE THE LEAD, gymnastics in STICK IT, even more dancing in STEP UP, and so much more). In this case, the standard story cutout begins with a teenage girl (a ballet dancer) who has suffered a tragedy (always with the loss of a parent, right?), and then has to move in with her dad in the ghetto. So, obviously, she discovers hip-hop. Yes, the suburban white girl learns how to get her freak on, so to speak. And then, as if written out of a fairy tale from the hood, she meets a guy. Obviously, they fall in love, and then he helps her get her ballet-dancing career going again (of course with a nice incorporation of stylish hip hop moves). It gets worse. Every single character (the deadbeat father, the bitchy ex-girlfriend, the asshole gangsta, etc.) and line of dialogue ("You talk a lot of shit for someone who never says anything!") feels straight out of a lame stock script. It was actually painful to watch.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, since at least this film treats its subject matter with a hint of realism. Most other films like this get so ridiculous to a point that they start to feel like a parody of real life. SAVE THE LAST DANCE doesn't quite get to that point. Despite this, the film still feels too melodramatic for its own good. At times it's even cheesy and laughable. I've heard others argue that the movie's at least entertaining, but unless youre a female under 20, I don't understand how many people could agree with that. To me, it was just dull. The story bored me with its obviousness, and the relationship aspect bored me even more. It just wasn't interesting. And since its release, Hollywood has just been churning out the same garbage over and over again. So no matter which of the films from this genre you rent, you're still practically watching the same movie.
THE EXTRAS
This "Special Collector's Edition" was obviously released to market the movie's sequel, which is being released in October. That said, at least they didn't skimp on the extras material. I wouldn't say they warrant a whole new purchase (since most of it is just fluff pieces), but for those fans that don't yet own the flick, here's an excuse to get it.

The repeat extras are the commentary, making of, deleted scenes, music video, and trailer. Not included are 2 of the four deleted scenes (?), and cast and crew interviews.

Audio Commentary (with director Thomas Carter): Only occasionally does Carter discuss anything more than what's actually happening in the story. I didn't really find that much worth listening to here, but fans might.

The Making of "Save The Last Dance" (19:35): A fluff piece, filled mostly with cast/crew discussing the story and the characters involved. It's not until over half way through that some decent information starts being shared.

The Writers' Story (13:29): A mildly interesting interview-filled featurette going over the writers' vision and such.

In Step: The Choreographers' Story (6:01): Obviously, this featurette is all about the dancing featured in the film. This is probably the most worthwhile extra for fans.

What It Takes (9:49): A semi-inspirational piece about how much effort that goes into becoming a dancer. Basically it's just people discussing how much effort it takes, and how hard it is.

"Save The Last Dance" - A Retrospective (12:33): A pointless featurette, simply going over the whole experience and story.

Deleted Scenes (5:38): Strangely, only two of the four deleted scenes are included from the original release. Neither of them is exactly special, but they aren't bad either. I could easily see them being in the finished film.

Also included are a Sneak Preview and Trailer for SAVE THE LAST DANCE 2 (which looks horrendous), a Music Video titled "Crazy" by K-Ci and JoJo, a Theatrical Trailer, and some Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I understand that some people like the whole "suburban-white-girl-discovers-hip-hop" angle, but it doesn't do anything for me. Especially after I've been forced to sit through different variations of the same story time and time again. The only thing this flick has that the others don't is some slight believability in its setting. Other than that, it's nothing special.

And speaking of other things "special", this here's the "Special Collector's Edition" of the film. It has a bunch of new extras, none of which warrant a whole separate purchase, but for those fans that don't yet own the flick, now you have a reason.
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