Time: 115 mins.
SYNOPSIS: A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.
BOTTOM LINE: This is one of those films that only teenage girls and musical fans will love. It's not a bad movie. In fact, the acting is good, the dancing is beautiful and the script is not as hokey as I thought it would be. Which means you can actually watch most of the film without laughing out loud. It does have its share of angst and ego, but for the most part keeps the tone fairly realistic.
It follows the same general script of all dance films: genius, arrogant dance director puts young hopefuls through their paces with the hope that they will be a few of those chosen to become permanent members of the troupe, show, etc. There's pain, disappointment, love, lust, betrayal, friendship and, of course, eating disorders to be found along the way. None of the situations these talented youngsters find themselves in are anything new. Yet, they have enough charisma, energy and heart to at least try to make you think so.
Amanda Schull and Zoe Saldana are the standouts here. Most of the men can't hold a candle to their inner fires. Gallagher's arrogance plays off more pathetic than powerful. It's hard to believe any of them would want to work that hard for someone like him. Stiefel, Gallagher's rival, stands out as the only man to really catch one's eye, but that's mainly because he plays such a dick. This is kind of like FAME, but with less character development and better dancers. If dancing doesn't turn you on, this isn't for you.