#REVIEW: “WORK IT”
What WORK IT doesn’t explore in new territory in story arcs, it delivers on fun and fantastic dancing.
Alicia Keys produces and Laura Terruso directs this coming-of-age Dance Comedy which was made here in Toronto. The Film centers on overachiever Quinn (Sabrina Carpenter) who is bound for admission at Duke University but finds even after ticking all the boxes as a prime candidate, she realizes she lacks the pizzazz to stand-out to the admissions officer (Michelle Buteau). She lies that she’s part of her school’s famed dance troupe to show how well-rounded she is. One problem – she can’t dance. Luckily, she has a BFF Jasmine (Liza Koshy) who can help, leading them to form their own misfit dance troupe, butting heads with the undisputed queens The Thunderbirds, led by Julliard (Keiynan Lonsdale). Quinn and Jasmine are going to need help though, so they enlist an M.I.A. Jake (Jordan Fisher), who was a legend at their school but sidelined after an injury. Quinn and Jake build a connection, with him helping her get outside her head to become a great dancer, but in devoting a lot of her time to dance, she finds her grades slipping quick and we wonder if she will get into the school of her dreams in the end.
WORK IT is a bit like Dirty Dancing meets Save the Last Dance; somewhat like Mean Girls and Bring It On, with a little less drama and danger. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a blast being wowed by the some of the fantastic Choreography (RuPaul’s Drag Race and Voguing Culture definitely inspired a lot of it) and jamming to the awesome Soundtrack ranging from ’80s to current, updated even with Dua Lipa‘s latest!
The girl on a mission-meets girl falls in love with mentor story line has been done time and again, but the Film knows exactly what it is and succeeds. While there are glaring gaps in the story like how Fisher is able to compete alongside these high schoolers without anyone noticing, this can be forgiven. Carpenter thrives in the lead role and has a likability to her, nailing the physicality of her role from fumbling, while not horrible dancer to full-on “working it”. Her and Fisher have a great chemistry together, whether they are dancing or not and Funnywoman Koshy definitely is a scene-stealer, with the dancing chops to go with it. Lonsdale is enjoyable as a “mean girl”, but we felt he could even have had more fun with it. Regardless, his dancing is something to marvel at.
WORK IT streams on Netflix Friday, August 7, 2020.