Sometimes it seems like studios use the cinematic equivalent of a cookie cutter to produce genre films. Step Up is the second "dance film" that I've seen this year, and it is impossible not to compare it to Take the Lead. Step Up's lead actress, Jenna Dewan, was also in Take the Lead, which doesn't help matters. And the opening credit sequence of Step Up was structured in the same way as Take the Lead: juxtaposing two different types of dance moves (ballet and hip-hop this time) to show us the two different social spheres that we all know will eventually collide, just like peanut butter and chocolate, to create something new and wonderful.

Fortunately, Step Up is a much more watchable film than Take the Lead. The storyline is slightly more subtle and less predictable, and the dancing is more energetic. Take the Lead had a fussy lesson-like atmosphere at times, probably because of Antonio Banderas' instructor character, but Step Up doesn't rely on an older figure of authority as a catalyst for action.