Film Review: Breaking Through

So numbingly uninvolving and rote that it could well rank as the blandest movie musical ever made.
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The plotlines of movie musicals, from The Broadway Melody and 42nd Street on, have never been the freshest or most original. The hackneyed clichés of the star breaking her ankle on opening night so the nobody understudy gets a break, etc., are what you usually had to endure to get to the dazzling numbers. The actual few good musical scripts mostly came from the minds of Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Singin’ in The Rain, The Band Wagon, It’s Always Fair Weather). But today, good, bad or indifferent screenplays barely need to bother with anything more than that modern miracle of miracles, YouTube.

That behemoth engine of popular culture is what pretty much fuels them all now, and the blandly titled Breaking Through owes everything to it. That blandness also extends to every aspect of this completely uninvolving effort, which centers around a hip-hop dancer named Casey (Sophia Aguiar), who dances with a crew but is singled out for stardom when a manager discovers them you know where.

The ethnically diverse cast is uniformly attractive and energetic. But, due to writer/director John Swetnam’s antiseptic direction and screenplay (a very basic retread of the overly imitated Step Up, having himself written one of its sequels), they might as well be performing underwater. The entire enterprise has a weirdly remote and canned feeling to it, like some TV movie that’s been languishing on the shelf because obviously no one could muster any real passion for it.

Like nearly every other movie musical, all could be forgiven if the numbers were dazzling enough. But, good Lord, haven’t we been seeing these same tortuous, rapidfire isolation moves for at least two decades now? I guess, yes, it is indeed hip-hop, but by now it’s no longer choreography. It’s semaphore.

Click here for cast and crew information.