DVD Review: How She Move
By Kam Williams
Preppie Returns to Ghetto Roots in Dance Drama Out on DVD
Raya Green's (Rutina Wesley) dreams of becoming a doctor seem to be dashed when her elder sister dies of a drug overdose. Sadly, the tragedy leaves her overworked West Indian parents so strapped financially that they can no longer afford their surviving daughter's prep school tuition.
This means Raya will have to return home and attend the local public high school. Worse, she'll have to try to survive the streets of the same crime-infested neighborhood that took her sibling's life.
Back in the 'hood, Raya puts her ambitions on hold temporarily and focuses more on fitting-in than on excelling, so she won't be ostracized as an egghead. However, when she's exposed for dumbing herself down at the blackboard by her math teacher, her punishment is to tutor a truly struggling classmate twice a week after hours.
Trouble is, like oil and water, the personalities of hard-edged Michelle (Tre Armstrong) and relatively-refined Raya don't mix. What's worse, Michelle doesn't appreciate it when the newcomer suddenly starts hanging out with her "Step" crowd.
Rava's curiosity about the elaborately-orchestrated dance routines was piqued when she learned about the upcoming Step Monster Competition with a $50,000 grand prize. She figures that if she can find a team that will allow her to join, she just might win the seed money to get her out of the ghetto again.
Although its premise might sound suspiciously similar to that of Stomp the Yard, How She Move is superior in almost every way, especially in terms of character development, chemistry and choreography.
Be prepared to root for Raya for the duration of this satisfying saga, as she sheds tears, studies and stomps her way to the big stage, all while handling an array of pressing teen dilemmas in a refreshingly intelligent fashion for an inner city melodrama.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and drug use.
Running time: 91 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Three behind-the-scenes featurettes and a theatrical trailer.
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