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You Got Served

Christopher B. Stokes is the manager of B2k and IMX. Why is this important? Because he is also the writer and director behind You Got Served, which happens to star members of both groups. Wow, imagine that! This plays like an extended commercial for the members of both groups, who, at some point, like all singers, want to branch off into acting. In a dubious fit of synergy, B2k recently announced their breakup. Uh, hello? Couldn't it wait until after the film was released? Or, maybe all the members realized how bad this film was, and wanted to run away from it as soon as possible. Oh, the dancing is great, but every time it stops, the bad acting, bad dialogue, and predictable plotting take over. The best way to describe You Got Served is that it is a hybrid of Bring It On and Honey with a dash of 8 Mile, without many of the elements that made those films fun.

The film centers on David (Omari Grandberry) and Elgin (Marques Houston, Good Burger), best friends for years and leaders of a hip-hop crew. They battle every week in Mr. Rad's (Steve Harvey, Love Don't Cost a Thing, The Fighting Temptations) warehouse. Everything is hunky-dory until a whitebread crew from Orange County challenges them, and they lose. Not only that, but David is hot for Elgin's sister Liyah (Jennifer Freeman, The Visit), and Elgin hates this. David and Elgin run errands for a shady character for some extra cash. The last straw happens when David misses a drop-off because he is spending time with Liyah. David is injured because he was there alone, and he breaks up the crew and tells Liyah never to see David again.

You Got Served only comes to life when its characters are dancing, and as often as Stokes does this, it is not enough. There is something primal and visceral about these dance battles, where crews dance in front of each other, taunting each other with their moves. Credit here goes to Wade Robson, Dave Scot, and Shane Sparks, the choreographers of the film. The dancers defy gravity by flying into the air, showing great athletic prowess and bringing a sense of fun missing from the rest of the film. The best sequences come at the beginning, and at the end, when the "story" shifts to the Big Bounce, a competition where the winner gets lots of money and the chance to star in a Lil' Kim video. This means that David and Elgin, separately, can get their comeuppance against the crew that beat him, and that Elgin can pay back what he owes (or else he'll die!)

This is Stokes' first screenplay, and it is just a rehash of plots from other movies and television shows. Everybody knows that at some point, David and Elgin will reconcile and join forces to win the big competition. It does happen, but does so almost arbitrarily. There little kid (Malcolm David Kelly, Antwone Fisher) who is so cute and feels so pointless that it is also obvious what is going to happen to him. The other members of B2k have marginal roles, and if they act like Grandberry, that's a good thing. He may be able to sing, but he needs to learn a lot about acting. The drivel coming from Stokes' script is not helping his performance. This would probably work better as a music video, which means it would be much shorter. It would also explain some random shots of Grandberry and Houston practicing in the rain. It looks good on film, but makes no sense whatsoever.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and sexual references.

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