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Movie review: 'Go for It!'

The aspiring inspirational dance film misses with a lack of focus and some over-editing that takes away from the performances.

May 14, 2011|By Robert Abele, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Aimee Garcia stars in "Go for It.
Aimee Garcia stars in "Go for It. (Sprakhope Productions )

"Go for It!" is a funny title for a movie that barely reaches for anything outside of what's been done to death thousands of times before in inspirational dramas and dance films.

Asked by a junior college teacher (Al Bandiero) what her aspirations are, Mexican American student and underground club dancer Carmen (Aimee Garcia) snidely replies, "Hip-hop." But her self-doubt and defensive attitude about following through on her dream — choosing a bland, rich white boyfriend Jared (Derrick Denicola) over dance practice or applying for arts school — threaten to derail Carmen.

Writer-producer-director Carmen Marron is clearly working out something more personal here than the standard "Step Up"-style genre flick — why else name your lead character after yourself? Garcia easily projects a troubled soul, but the real issues of Americanized immigrant children finding their way are given short shrift from the scene-to-scene lack of narrative and emotional focus — why do we get the teacher's story on the side? — and a tone that veers from comic caricature (Jared's hopelessly snooty, clueless parents) to left-field psychodrama in the case of her hotheaded partner-in-partying Gina (Gina Rodriguez).

Annoyingly, the dance sequences — mostly club battles between all-female crews — are over-edited mash-ups of close-ups and sloppy camera movement, chopping up the human form in a way that does no credit to the hard work of choreography and technique.

'Go for It!'

MPAA rating: PG-13 for sexual content, language, brief violence and drug material

Running time: 90 minutes

In wide release

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