×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

You Got Served

If each decade must have its own "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo," things could be worse than "You Got Served." Latest formula reheating of snotty (white) outsiders vs. plucky (black) homies is a serviceable youth pic that's marginally less dumb than November's urban quasi-musical "Honey." "Served" should score a couple of heady weeks.

With:
Elgin - Marques Houston David - Omari Grandberry Rico - Jarell Houston Vick - DeMario Thornton Rashaan - Dreux Frederic Liyah - Jennifer Freeman Herself - Lil' Kim Emerald - Michael "Bear" Taliferro Herself - Alani "La La" Vasquez Wade - Christopher Jones Beautifull - Meagan Good Mr. Rad - Steve Harvey

If each decade must have its own “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” things could be worse than “You Got Served.” Latest formula reheating of snotty (white) outsiders vs. plucky (black) homies is a serviceable youth pic that’s marginally less dumb than November’s urban quasi-musical “Honey.” Pic won’t be more than a blip on the radar for most grownups, but, if nonstop screams and squeals from a largely under-15 preview aud are any sign, “Served” should score a couple of heady weeks among those who spend their afterschool hours with MTV and BET.

Making his feature directorial bow, musicvid veteran and producer/manager (notably of R&B group B2K, whose members fill several roles here) Christopher B. Stokes also wrote the script, which has a storyline so simple even little kids won’t find it a challenge to follow it.

Elgin (Marques Houston of IMX) and David (Omari Grandberry, aka Omarion of B2K, who’s Houston’s real-life brother) are best friends who lead an L.A. street-dancing troupe that performs regularly at the neighborhood venue run by Mr. Rad (Steve Harvey). Strapped for cash, the two young men also run occasional, questionably legal errands for local crime boss Emerald (Jabba the Hut-like Michael “Bear” Taliferro).

David has a reputation as a Casanova, but Elgin draws the line when David gets serious about Elgin’s comely little sister Liyah (Jennifer Freeman). This rift develops into a chasm when Elgin is jumped and robbed on a solo delivery mission for Emerald — while David, who should have been watching his back, was out making time with Liyah.

Resulting bad blood splinters their dance crew, just as they are invited to compete in a big MTV dance-off. However, when a tyke is killed in a drive-by shooting, the protags reunite for the dance-off, beating back a straight-outta-Orange-County crew led by sneering, spiky-haired wigger Wade (Christopher Jones).

Prize is $50,000 and a spot in a new video starring Lil’ Kim (one of many personalities playing themselves in cameos here). As Mr. Rad puts it, “Money isn’t the important thing, friendship is.” But hey, friendship plus money is even better.

Ultra-baggy hip-hop fashion trends of the last few years don’t ideally complement dance moves, nor does the usual overactive, musicvid-bred editorial approach.

Nonetheless, main attraction here is the large number of body-rocking segs. They showcase dynamic old-school breakdancing, plus mind-boggling acrobatics and even a little modern-dance/musical theater-influenced choreography. It’s easy to forget the eminently forgettable plot when so many feet are flying.

Perfs are as good as they need to be, which (off the competition floor, at least) is just competent. Only notable weak link is dewy ingenue Freeman (from ABC sitcom “My Wife and Kids”), who seems to have wandered in from “Valley Girl 2.” She makes a line like, “Your boy is really trippin’ ” sound uncomfortably close to “Omigawd! Gag me with a spoon!”

Harvey’s comic chops are barely tapped.

Design and tech aspects are nondescript: You have to think the music supervisor was running out of ideas when de rigueur wall-to-wall soundtrack of hip-hop and neo-soul cuts — featuring Timbaland, Ludacris, Method Man, DMX, Redman, several from B2K, etc. — finds room for a dance-floor version of “Fur Elise.”

You Got Served

Production: A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Screen Gems presentation of an Ultimate Group Films production in association with Melee Entertainment. Produced by Marcus Morton, Cassius Vernon Westhersby, Billy Pollina. Executive producers, Ketrina "Taz" Askew, Max Gousse. Directed, written by Christopher B. Stokes.

Crew: Camera (color), David Hennings; editor, Earl Watson; music, Tyler Bates; music supervisor, Barry Cole; production designer, Maxine Shepard; art directors, Jason Weil, Kitty Doris Bates; set decorator, Dan May; costume designer, Ca-Trece Mas'sey; sound (Dolby Digital), Stephen Hunter Flick; choreographers, Dave Scott, Shane Sparks; additional choreography, Robert James Hoffman III; line producer, Kevin Halloran; assistant director, Todd Amateau; casting, Monica Swann. Reviewed at AMC Van Ness 1000, San Francisco, Jan. 28, 2004. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Elgin - Marques Houston David - Omari Grandberry Rico - Jarell Houston Vick - DeMario Thornton Rashaan - Dreux Frederic Liyah - Jennifer Freeman Herself - Lil' Kim Emerald - Michael "Bear" Taliferro Herself - Alani "La La" Vasquez Wade - Christopher Jones Beautifull - Meagan Good Mr. Rad - Steve Harvey

More Film

  • PLAYA VISTA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 24:

    Shorts Encourage Women to STEAM Careers

    Straight Up Films created the anthology “Power/On” of five shorts focused on encouraging girls in STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math with the arts thrown in) directed by actresses Rosario Dawson, Julie Bowen, Ana Brenda Contreras, Lisa Edelstein, and Nikki Reed. With support from YouTube, the shorts premiered Wednesday at the Google campus in Playa [...]

  • Stefanie Sherk obit

    Stefanie Sherk, Actress and Wife to Demian Bichir, Dies at 43

    Canadian actress and model Stefanie Sherk died on April 20 of an apparent suicide by drowning. She was 43. The Los Angeles Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed the ruling and cause of death. Sherk appeared in the TV show “CSI: Cyber” and the movie “Valentine’s Day.” She also starred in the show “The Bridge” alongside her husband [...]

  • Ron HowardBreakthrough Prize, Arrivals, NASA Ames

    Ron Howard Talks New Luciano Pavarotti Documentary

    If one is an anomaly, two are a coincidence and three are a trend, then Ron Howard might strictly become a music documentarian after “Pavarotti” hits theaters. The documentary about the world-famous Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti comes on the heels of Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” and “Made in America,” a look at [...]

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead to Star in Netflix Assassin Thriller 'Kate' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead is set to star in the Netflix actioner “Kate,” sources tell Variety. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is helming from a script by Umair Aleem. The story revolves around a female assassin, who, after being poisoned and given less than 24 hours to live, must go on a manhunt through [...]

  • Shannon Hoon

    Blind Melon Frontman's Home Movies Captivate in Tribeca Doc 'All I Can Say'

    For a period of five years, Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon diligently chronicled his own life, videotaping himself with a Hi-8 video camera through every step of his musical journey — starting out in Indiana, through his meteoric rise to alt-rock icon, up to the day of his death in 1995. These captivating moments finally [...]

  • 'The Edge of Democracy' Review: A

    Film Review: 'The Edge of Democracy'

    How the hell did we get here? It’s a question that political liberals are asking themselves in many parts of the world, reeling as they are from a global tilt to the right that has yielded the tumultuous Trump presidency, the ceaseless, squabbling chaos of Brexit and, albeit less prominently in international headlines, Brazil’s submission [...]

  • Brie Larson

    Brie Larson on Diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: 'We Gotta Move Faster'

    While Brie Larson is thrilled over the success of the female-led “Captain Marvel,” the actress wants more diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Larson sat down with Variety’s Marc Malkin for the first episode of Variety and iHeartMedia’s new film podcast, “The Big Ticket.” “I’m happy to be on the forefront of the normalization of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content