Tuesday Review – Work It (2020)

films, review

Each week I have to decide which movies that I watch and some weeks are harder than others. I tend to pick something to review on Tuesday first and then try and base the TBT film around that. I like it if they have a common theme but am willing to mix things up for a special occasion (like last week’s unexpected Scott Pilgrim repeat). This week, however, I mixed things up even more. I was looking through Netflix for inspiration and was all set to watch The Peanut Butter Falcon. Then I saw the new Netflix original dance film. I knew that it would be terrible but, in it’s unoriginal concept, I saw the perfect opportunity to watch a film that I suddenly had a massive desire to watch. If I sat through this silly teen romp, then I would be able to watch Save the Last Dance. I hadn’t thought about that film for a long time but, apparently, I’ve been longing to watch it. So, I went for it. Of course, now I also have a desire to watch Bring It On, which means the question of my TBT is still up in the air. So, that’ll be a nice surprise for you. Unlike the narrative of Work It.

Work It feels like a combination of Booksmart and the Save the Last Dance with definite early 00s teen movie vibes. I wasn’t expecting anything great from it anyway because we all know what Netflix original comedies are like but this is one of those films that give the story away in the trailer. But, I guess that didn’t really mean it couldn’t be enjoyable. Familiarity can be a wonderful thing at times and a lazy Saturday evening wasn’t necessarily the time for anything too heavy hitting.

Just as we saw in Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, Work It introduces us to a studious young woman looking to get into a good college. Quinn Ackerman has spent her high school years getting the best grades and cultivating a well-rounded list of extra-curricular activities. She has planned to go to Duke, where her father went, since she was a child and feels confident. Until her interview. To make herself stand out, Quinn tells the admissions officer that she is part of her school’s award winning dance team. To cover her lie, Quinn and her best friend, Jas, decide to form a rival dance team. The obvious way out of this situation. But will they be able to make it to the finals of the big dance competition?

Okay, so it’s not that difficult a question if you’ve ever seen a film before. Quinn and Jas have to round up a rag-tag bunch of fellow students with questionable dance skills to form their team. Quinn herself is the worst dancer by far and lacks any kind of rhythm. Luckily they manage to convince the dreamy Jake Taylor, a promising dancer before a knee injury, to be their choreographer. It doesn’t take long before Jake is giving Quinn more than just dance lessons.

As formulaic as this film is, I have to admit that it was better than I thought. Remember how we all thought Pitch Perfect was going to be terrible and then it turned out to be pretty good. Well, Work It isn’t exactly Pitch Perfect but it’s not bad. It has been made with more care and attention than most of these teen-focused Netflix originals. It would definitely keep teens pretty happy this Summer. Especially ones who can actually appreciate the cast that has been brought together here. One of the problems over jumping over the 30 year line is that I suddenly don’t know who anyone is anymore. I recognise a few of the cast but it’s not something that won me over in the way that it was meant to. Still, they weren’t awful, which is a plus.

Work It isn’t going to win any prizes for being fantastic film making and it does have a few flaws. However, it has the good sense not to drag anything out too long. It zips along at quite a pace so we don’t over indulge in the set-up. Yeah, maybe it didn’t have to skip over quite so many of the training montages and maybe it could have spent a bit more time in Quinn’s transformation from nerd to hip hop dancer. Still, it does the job. The film’s major downfall is the ending. It doesn’t really have much of a message. It crams so many different ideas into the mix that you’re not entirely sure what it’s telling you. Be yourself? Do what you love? Break out of your comfort zone? Believe in yourself? Don’t worry about college? Worry about college? It’s all there in some form. I suspect the film doesn’t quite know what it wants to tell you either but it’s having too much fun to care.

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