The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
If I was asked to describe this film in ten words or less, this is exactly what I would say: “Netflix’s Work It is the dance version of Pitch Perfect.”
Laura Terruso doesn’t do anything here that we haven’t seen before in teen comedies, musicals, or dance centric flicks, but the fact that this is her first rodeo with the genre makes it something to applaud. Terruso directs with enthusiasm and leaves us with a serviceable teen comedy with some excellent choreography.
Alison Peck crafts a story that we should all be familiar with: a teenage girl creates a team to further her success while making friendships along the way. Peck is a newer writer on the scene with her first outing being the children’s animated feature Ugly Dolls, which came and went without much discussion. From beginning to end, if you wanted to guess the end of each act and all the plot points in between, you’d have a fairly decent chance of nailing it. While Peck doesn’t bring the most original plot to Work It, she does bring a fun, charismatic cast of characters to make it all work.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Sabrina Carpenter seems to be all the rage these days after her short run on Girl Meets World, and her efforts here as Quinn reflect the charm that people seem to be getting from her. Her relationship on screen with Liza Koshy’s Jas is fantastic but limited to what the script gives us. They share both comical and sincere moments together, but a majority of the film centers on the training within the team setting. Carpenter’s romantic (slight spoiler) connection with Jordan Fisher is shown deeper through her dancing than through the dialogue in the scenes, yet somehow you can’t help but root for them to become a thing. What’s so funny about the script is that while predictable, it does manage to throw a few curveballs, such as when we are introduced to the recruiter at Duke; she is an absolute buffoon, and it resembled someone who definitely shouldn't be working at such a prestigious school. Soon after, the introduction jokes are made and you realize that her behavior is in fact abnormal. The film coasts by with the usual stereotypes, and while they do make for a viable experience, there’s so much more it could have provided; such as a less predictable antagonist or a less bothersome mother type.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Netflix's 'Work It' Is The Dance Version of 'Pitch Perfect'
Visually whether the film was filmed on location or filmed almost entirely in a studio, I couldn’t differentiate as everything felt like it was a studio set. The film felt cheap, whether within the high school, at a mattress store, or at Duke, absolutely nothing seemed genuine. On the other side of visuals, the choreography, which I categorized with direction, was pretty captivating to watch and kept myself entertained when they didn’t carry on for too long.
Work It (2020) | NETFLIX
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The key to an entertaining dance centric film is to make sure the song catalog is strong. Work It has completely knocked that criteria out of the stadium. The music choices throughout keep the dancing thriving, and as long as it doesn’t drag, it makes you excited for the next sequence. The score on the other hand, composed by Germaine Franco, doesn’t pack as much of a punch, heading towards a typical teen comedy angle which we’ve received time and time again from Netflix Originals.
When you think of dance centric films, there’s one series of titles that immediately come to mind: the Step Up franchise… and maybe Kickin’ It Old School. Work It isn’t going to win any awards for its originality, but its broad cast of characters, excellent choreography and welcome chemistry between leads makes for a fundamentally satisfactory film that will slightly fill in the gap while waiting for the next installment of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before or The Kissing Booth.