Stomp the Yard
Despite its predictability, all that stompin' in this Yard will get you moving in your seat.
Who knew about the traditions of "stepping?" Stomp the Yard lets moviegoers in on this age-old style of dance customarily done in the black fraternities and sororities, where teams demonstrate complex moves and create rhythmic sounds by using their bodies. It's exciting to watch, to say the least. But in between the powerful dance sequences, we're handed a corny plot, revolving around a wrong-side-of-the-tracks guy named DJ (Columbus Short), who moves from L.A. to Atlanta to escape his woes and inadvertently gets in on the whole step deal when he attends Truth University. DJ's raw talent as a hip-hop inspired dancer places him at the center of a fierce rivalry between two fraternitiesone who has won the annual stepping championship seven years in a row and the other who wants to claim it for themselves. Guess which fraternity DJ joins? Guess who wins? Yeah, not too hard to figure this one out.
The cast thankfully sells the hackneyed story, starting with the incredibly charismatic Short (Accepted). A former choreographer for pop stars such as Britney Spears, Short certainly pulls off the dancing with ease, and he handles the dramatic chores with aplomb. He also has nice chemistry with the lovely Meagan Good (Roll Bounce), who plays a rich girl DJ pursues despite being the girlfriend of rival frat stepper, played by Soul Food's Darrin Henson, another excellent dancer. The third actor/dancer to watch for in Stomp is Brian White (The Family Stone), as the leader of DJ's fraternity and an old school step master who gets a little education from the streetwise DJ. Let's just say everyone is very easy on the eyes and their moves sizzle and pop.
Much like Tyler Perry's movies (Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion), Stomp the Yard may appeal to a niche market, but it's definitely a refreshing change of pace from typical urban street movies. Sure, Stomp is one cliché after another, but newbie director Sylvain White knows exactly where the film's bread is buttered: It's all about the dance and music. And while other dance movies--the recent Step Up comes to mind--fall in the same category, White distinguishes Stomp by skillfully highlighting this particular pulse-pounding dance style, as well as showing the rich culture and traditions of our black college campuses.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.