Step Up 2 is a movie that has me conflicted. Typically I’d complain about another dance movie, like I did with Step Up, and a needless sequel to an existing dance movie. But the truth is once I got past my own complaining, I really enjoyed Step Up. So a sequel could have potential…

Except Step Up 2 is lacking everything that made the first movie so interesting. Director Anne Fletcher has been replaced with relative newcomer Jon Chu, whose experience with musicals includes the independent When the Kids Are Away (although Fletcher will executive produce… which means she might not be involved at all). Channing Tatum is being replaced by his She’s the Man co-star Robert Hoffman in the male role, and Jenna Dewan’s female character is being replaced by one from Briana Evigan (daughter of Greg Evigan).

Even the gender roles have swapped. This time the story will focus around a stable male student and a rebellious female student, at the same Maryland Dance School. Basically, the filmmakers are going to take the same formula that worked for the first one and repeat it. They’re even repeating the online MySpace contest that they used for Step Up that allows users to upload audition tapes to potentially win some involvement with the movie, from dancing in the movie to singing a song on the soundtrack.

Everything about this sequel makes me want to hate it right off the bat, but having Step Up as a guilty pleasure movie makes that difficult. I’ll go ahead and suggest it won’t do as well though. Lacking Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan is going to be a big hit on the film’s popularity. I’d say Tatum’s popularity alone made up for a large part of Step Up’s success. Without that, this one could fall flat.

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