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Case Number 15342

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Make It Happen

Genius Products // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // January 2nd, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Franck Tabouring hears the music, but doesn't feel the beat.

The Charge

Hear the music. Feel the beat.

Opening Statement

Like it or not, dance flicks are still all over the place, and the latest one going direct to video is Darren Grant's Make It Happen, a film that firmly sticks to the conventions of the genre and offers absolutely nothing we haven't seen yet.

Facts of the Case

Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as lead character Lauryn, an enthusiastic small-town girl who's spent most of her life prepping for an audition at the Chicago School of Music and Dance. Now the big day has finally come, and even though her protective brother Joel (John Reardon) doesn't want her to leave, Lauryn packs her stuff and heads out to the big city to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional dancer.

Things, however, don't go so well at her audition, and, after being rejected, Lauryn is not sure how to proceed. That's when she meets Dana (Tessa Thompson), a friendly girl who feels her pain and helps her get a job as a bookkeeper at a popular dance club. Before you know it, Lauryn takes the stage at the club to show off her moves, an initiative that will quickly help her regain the necessary confidence to continue chasing her dream.

The Evidence

The official tagline for Make It Happen reads "Life can change. Dreams don't have to," and that's exactly what Lauryn will come to understand at the end of the movie. Too bad the way there is a long and boring one. As much as I tried, I simply couldn't prevent myself from dozing off several times, primarily because its slow-moving plot contributes absolutely nothing new to the genre of dance flicks.

The main story is a rehashed version of Coyote Ugly, Step Up 2: The Streets, and all those other dance dramas we've seen over the past years, and the film shows us absolutely nothing we haven't seen yet. The characters are bland, the dialogue is formulaic, and the series of good and unfortunate situations Lauryn encounters are not intriguing enough to get excited about.

Most of what happens to Lauryn on her journey to achieve her dream is predictable at best. Be it the shallow rivalry with one of the club's hottest dancers, her quick romance with the DJ (Riley Smith), or her dysfunctional relationship with her brother, none of these dramatic episodes will make sitting through this 80-minute film an enjoyable experience.

So what about the dancing, then? Believe it or not, there is actually not that much dancing to discover in Make It Happen. Most of what we end up seeing though looks decent enough, although it doesn't help increase the overall quality of the movie. The segments end up being pretty short and the majority of the moves are not nearly as vibrant as those in films such as How She Move.

Portraying empty characters is always a hard task to fulfill, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead really tries her best to come across as natural as possible. Her fine looks and positive attitude get her there halfway, but the silliness of the dialogue pretty much ruins it all in the end. As far as the supporting cast is concerned, no one really stands out, and most of these performances are rather forgettable.

Not that I absolutely need them, but the special features on this disc are a little too weak for my taste. Besides a trailer, the bonus material also includes a lame blooper and thirteen deleted and extended scenes. I'm glad they took these out because they would have only slowed down the plot even more.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

What kept me going until the end was the film's exceptionally solid soundtrack, which is undoubtedly more exciting than anything else in Make It Happen. On a similar note, the movie's technical aspects are excellent as well, starting with a solid audio transfer that boasts a clean and clear sound quality throughout. Same goes for the video, which delivers a very sharp picture and at least give the film a visually positive look.

Closing Statement

If you're a desperate small-town dancer in need of some encouragement, you'll probably learn something from Make It Happen. Otherwise, I see no reason why you want to invest in this DVD. Okay, if you've got a thing for the charming Winstead, I understand…

The Verdict


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Scales of Justice

Video: 89
Audio: 88
Extras: 60
Acting: 73
Story: 50
Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Genius Products
Video Formats:
• 2.40:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
• Drama
• Romance

Distinguishing Marks

• Blooper Reel
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Trailer


• IMDb
• Official Site

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