I have pretty much done something that will have some rather scary consequences for the future of this blog. See, last week I was hanging out with some of my friends and I borrowed a movie from my friends Emily and Mark. I know this may come as a surprise but I don’t own every movie ever made and sometimes I need to rent or borrow them if I want to watch them. Anyways, Emily said that since I was borrowing the movie I could write a blog about it but I told her I couldn’t because I didn’t own it. I swear I actually saw the light bulb pop up over her head and I just knew that at some point, I would soon own a movie I probably didn’t want. Which brings us to yesterday, and my getting this movie in the mail and I know that there will more than likely be more movies coming in the future. So let’s laugh at my own stupidity and good naturedness while I watch today’s movie, Center Stage.
The plot: Jody Sawyer auditions to be accepted into the American Ballet Academy and in spite of the scout’s thinking she has bad feet, she gets accepted. Arriving in New York, she meets her roommates Eva Rodriguez and Maureen Cummings, as well as Erik “O. Jones” Jones, Sergei, and Charlie Sims. On the first day of class, Jonathan Reeves, the company’s director and choreographer, gives an introduction speech, telling the class that most of them will not make it. During their first class, Eva gets on the instructors bad side for not being in proper attire and her attitude, while Jody is told to pay closer attention to her moves and Maureen is shown to be a star student. After class, Jody, Eva, Maureen, and two other girls go down to watch the guys class when they see Kathleen Donahue walk by. The girls then talk about the scandal from last year, where Kathleen was dating Cooper Nielson, the company’s star performer, when she suddenly broke up with him to marry Jonathan, as the two had been having an affair, and Cooper yells at her during a class. Later, Maureen goes to see her mom and they discuss her chances of being selected to join the company as she list all the other girl’s faults. Later in the week, the class attends a performance done by American Ballet Company, where Cooper and Kathleen star in Romeo and Juliet. Afterwards, Jonathan introduces Cooper to Joan Miller, an recent widow that Jonathan hopes will invest in the company and is using Cooper to entice her. Charlie, Emily, Erik, and Jody sneak off to the stage and witness Cooper and Kathleen talking. As the girls are leaving, a server that was flirting with Maureen stops them and attempts to get Maureen’s name and their friend Emily tells it to him as the leave. As classes continue, Jody and Eva both continue to get called out for their faults and Jody is called into Jonathan’s office and told that she probably won’t make it as a dancer. Maureen goes out on a date with Jim, the man that was flirting with her, and she has fun but when she returns to the dorm, she throws up, showing that she is bulimic. Charlie, Erik, Eva, Jody, and Sergei go out for drinks and dancing at a salsa club but are hungover the next day and punished for it. Jody decides to sign up for another class and is surprised to see Cooper in the class as well. After the class, Cooper and Jody talk and end up back at his place to have sex. As the classes continue, the dancers are chosen for the workshop performances and Jody, Erik, and Charlie are chosen to be in Cooper’s performance, which is a retelling of the events between himself, Jonathan, and Kathleen, while Maureen and Sergei are given the lead in Jonathan’s performance and Eva is placed in the back of the performance. The group head out on the town for Erik’s birthday and Maureen brings Jim with her but as they are out on the ferry, Jim hears Maureen throwing up but she passes it off as motion sickness. Meanwhile, Charlie asks Jody out but she says she can’t as she is seeing someone. As the rehearsals for the workshops continue, Maureen starts feeling the pressure between her mom pressuring her in dancing and Jim trying to get her to be herself and when Jim tries to talk to her about her bulimia, she storms off. Meanwhile, Erik injures himself during the rehearsal and Cooper decides to take his place, causing tensions to form between Charlie, Jody, and Cooper, as Jody realizes she was just a one night stand and Charlie is angry at Cooper hurting her. On the night of the performance, everyone is getting ready and when Jonathan’s performance goes on, everyone is shocked to see Eva dancing in Maureen’s role. Maureen’s mom Nancy gets upset and goes looking for Maureen and finds her in the lobby of the building. Nancy wants to know why Maureen is throwing her career away and Maureen explains that she isn’t happy dancing and it was more her mom’s dream than her own. Cooper’s workshop is next and Jonathan and Kathleen are embarrassed to see that part of it mirrors what happened with them, as well as mirroring the movie, but the crowd loves it and gives them a standing ovation. After the performances, Joan speaks with Cooper and decides to fund his dance studio, to the shock of Jonathan. Cooper tells Jody the news and asks her to be his principle dancer but she is called in to see Jonathan before she can answer. Facing Jonathan, Jody thanks him for what she learned in his class but says that she is going to Cooper’s company. Jonathan accepts Eva, Charlie, and Erik into the company while Sergei decides to go to San Francisco with his girlfriend and Maureen enrolls into a local university. When Jody tells Cooper she is joining his company, he tries to kiss her but she stops him and says she won’t date him, then asks out Charlie to the after party and he accepts and they kiss.
Center Stage met with mixed to negative reviews, earning a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Critics say that if you’re willing to suffer through soap opera-like dialogue and plot to see some excellent dancing, this movie is for you. Otherwise, you might be better off renting Fame.” The film was a mild box office success, earning over $26 million off an $18 million budget. In spite of the low box office, a direct to cable sequel was filmed and premiered on the Oxygen Network in 2008 and a second sequel is scheduled to premier on Lifetime in 2016, tomorrow as a matter of fact.
You know, when I was reading the back of this movie, I made a comment to my friend that it sounded like Fame and I find it funny that the critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes basically said the same thing. So the moment you are waiting for, what did I think about this movie. This isn’t my cup of tea as far as movies go but……it was a decent movie. The acting was pretty good among the various characters and the movie tried to do a good job of showcasing all of the different characters and their own issues. The story actually felt a little weak, and seemed to rely more on the various character dramas than any real plot to progress the movie. The dance choreography did look really good and the various dance numbers were entertaining. If you like dancing or romantic, teenage dramas then you will probably enjoy this movie.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5