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Running Time:
1 hour, 53 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for a scene of violence, some sexual material and language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
While the dancing is explosively exciting, the plot about a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who brings his street-wise gangster style to the world of competitive step dancing is totally predictable.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Battles, Rivals, Brothers - The Story of Stomp the Yard; Filmmaker commentary; Extended dance sequences: Get Buck & Opening Battle; Deleted scene: The Clean Up; Gag reel.

Stomp the Yard
DJ (Columbus Short "Save the Last Dance 2") is a typical kid from the wrong side of the tracks who's enrolled as a freshman at an all-black Atlanta University, where his mother sends him after he's released from prison for a bum rap. He was sent to jail, after he got into a fight at a dance competition in an underground Los Angeles club, where his brother was killed. Back on campus he's a sullen and solitary character, sticking to his books and cutting the university lawn as part of a work-study program run by his uncle (Harry J. Lennix "The Human Stain"). When he meets a glamorous co-ed April (Meagan Good "You Got Served"), he's suddenly shaken out of his funk and falls for her at first sight. The only problem is that she happens to be the girlfriend of Grant (Darrin Henson "The Last Stand"), the star dancer for a champion fraternity stepping team. So DJ joins a rival fraternity, run by the determined Sylvester (Brian White "The Family Stone"), to go up against the arrogant Grant and win April while he beats Grant in the dance competition.

The movie was directed by Sylvain White ("I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer"), but it relies far too much on his commercial/music video background where he should have learned to keep it the action moving. "Stomp The Yard" drags on in a series of bad plot twists and false endings. Dave Scott's choreography is often dynamic and imaginative, but only a true fan is going to crave this much "stepping." The film barely explores the social dynamics of its university setting beyond the fraternities' "step" competition.

The role of DJ is only slightly more important than the supporting roles, but Short smartly underplays his character's anger and frustrations so that his sensitivity emerges logically rather than becoming one of those miracle transformations that happen only in movies. DJ's self-centeredness, in fact, is a defense mechanism, probably even an intelligent one, in an environment that feels alien and often hostile. One good thing about it is that for once, the black youth experience is played out in the world of fraternities and a university rather than in an urban den full of gangs and drugs. Nevertheless, there's plenty of trash-talk and male chauvinism in this well-meaning but tediously overwrought film, chockfull of clichés and earnest platitudes.

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