Every bit as unremarkable as its generic title might indicate, “Go for It!” serves up a bland recycling of cliches and archetypes from just about every youth-skewing, dance-centric pic to hit the megaplexes since “Flashdance.” Indeed, multihyphenate Carmen Marron’s earnest but insignificant indie is so thoroughly predictable that, even though it clocks in at a trim 90 minutes, it feels considerably longer while the audience waits impatiently for the obviously preordained denouement. Limited theatrical play in urban markets may generate interest for homevid release. But, then again, maybe not.
Pic’s chief virtue is the appealing lead performance by young TV vet Aimee Garcia (“The George Lopez Show”), who capably handles the thesping and terpsichorean demands of her character, Carmen Salgado, a first-generation Mexican-American high-school senior who lives with her extended family in dodgy area of Chicago.
Carmen spends most of her evenings at a rowdy underground club, where she gamely performs as a member of a hip-hop dance crew in spirited competitions with rival groups. By day, however, she’s a relatively serious student, thereby attracting the sympathetic interest of a teacher (Al Bandiero) who encourages her to apply for a scholarship at a formal dance school in California.
But despite her flashes of take-no-guff feistiness — she gets a two-week suspension after punching out a condescending Anglo classmate — Carmen initially is too insecure to pursue her dreams of a dance career.
To be sure, she has considerably more self-esteem than her best friend, Gina (Gina Rodriguez), a curvy and sassy Latina who’s periodically pummeled by her abusive boyfriend. But Carmen requires the motivation of a convenient tragedy shortly before an all-important audition in order for her to, well, go for it.
Marron tries hard to amp the excitement during the dance-offs at the underground club, but the garish lighting is off-putting, and the actual performances are too fragmented by over-insistent editing. Off the dance floor, “Go for It” progresses in flat-footed fashion, vacillating between overplayed comedy bordering on caricature — especially when Carmen meets the cloddish parents of her Anglo boyfriend (Derrick Denicola) — and shameless melodrama-spiked inspirational uplift.
Most of the secondary characters are required to do little more than appear either glum or angry — or, in some scenes, both — so Rodriguez’s saucy vibrancy as Gina makes her a welcome standout among the supporting players.
Tech credits suggest every day of production was a pitched battle against budgetary constraints.
By the way: A few months down the line, it’ll be interesting to see how many would-be vid renters seeking “Just Go With It” hit the wrong button at Redbox kiosks, and wind up with “Go for It!” instead.