Making the Grades
The Wayans brothers (the creative team behind White Chicks and the Scary Movie franchise) seem to have found a formula that works for them. Putting their heads together, they churn out films that parody a parade of teen flicks and celebrity blunders along with moments from more classic works. Unfortunately these scripts also stoop to the lowest form of locker room humor, employing a tome of crude terms and depictions of anatomy, crass sexual jokes and gross out gags.
Building on the plot from Save the Last Dance, this film dumbs down the story of a young white girl named Megan (Shoshana Bush) who moves from the suburbs to a culturally diverse inner city neighborhood to live with her estranged father after her mother is killed in an accident. (Mom is repeatedly hit or run over by cars after she collides with a tanker trunk hauling gasoline.) At Musical High School, Megan meets an unwed mother (Essence Atkins) who stashes her baby in her locker during classes, and a driven anorexic ballet student (Christina Murphy) who is looking for a suitable dance partner for the school’s year end finale. She also meets Thomas (Damon Wayans Jr.), a black aspiring medical student eager to get into college. Hoping to help Megan rekindle her love of dance, Thomas begins to teach the classically trained performer more primal moves from the street.
Side stories spoof everything from High School Musical, Dreamgirls, and Step Up to Twilight, You Got Served and Fame—along with the The Biggest Loser and Brittney Spears’ parenting dilemmas. Even a classic scene from Singin’ in the Rain makes it in. But while teens (the demographic this film is clearly aimed at) might enjoy spotting the scenes ripped from other movies, television shows and tabloid headlines, the heavy content in this production will likely leave most parents feeling uncomfortable with the outing.
In an online entertainment interview, Shawn Wayans (one of the writers, producers and actors in Dance Flick) confesses, “We’re an equal opportunity offender.” And offensive might be just the right word to describe this film’s sense of humor that includes the portrayal of bodily functions, the excessive use of rude terms for male anatomy, prescription drug use comments, homosexual jokes, exaggerated sexually-oriented visual gags and child abuse.
While the drama teacher in this film implores his students to maintain “dignity” in their art, it is evident that dignity is the last thing this crude teen parody is concerned with preserving.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Dance Flick.
Do you think comedy has to be offensive in order to be funny? Is it better to try and insult a wide range of people rather than focus on individuals or specific groups?