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Fast-Paised review: 'Stomp the Yard'

After his brother is killed in a post-dance-battle fight in L.A., cocky loner DJ (Columbus Short) enrolls in Truth University in Atlanta and considers joining a fraternity full of experts in stepping, a type of choreographed dance routine. There, his rival just happens to be a jerk with a hot girlfriend (Meagan Good, a beauty worth fighting for), who is also the daughter of the school's provost. R&B artists Chris Brown and Ne-Yo also star.

Big question: Is there anything original to be found here?

Skip it: Just when you think "Stomp the Yard" has used every cliché in the book, it pulls another one out of its Blockbuster rental bag of tricks. There is, however, a fun time to be had spotting bits of recent flicks like "You Got Served," "Drumline," "Bring It On," "Higher Learning" and even "Revenge of the Nerds."

Catch it: If you love the cheers used by softball teams. These guys' mid-dance chants sound less like they're asserting their manhood and more like they're rooting for an RBI triple.

Bottom line: Though the performance scenes sometimes look like a blend of breakdancing, popping-and-locking, head-banging and seizures, the dance sequences are thrilling and Short proves he deserves better movies than this in the future. But the bright spots are just like putting new rims on a beat-up used car, and "Stomp the Yard" is really just a showcase for talented dancers swimming in a cesspool of convention.

Bonus: "Stomp the Yard" gives great lessons in how to keep a woman. Do know her favorite color, and don't ever say this: "You keep yourself looking this fine, you ain't never gotta worry [about losing me]."

Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.

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'Stomp the Yard'

Directed by Sylvain White; screenplay by Robert Adetuyi; cinematography by Scott Kevan; edited by David Checel; choreography by Dave Scott; production design by Jonathan A. Carlson; music by Sam Retzer and Tim Boland; produced by Will Packer. A Screen Gems release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:21. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for a scene of violence, some sexual material and language).

DJ - Columbus Short

April - Meagan Good

Rich - Ne-Yo

Grant - Darrin Henson

Sylvester - Brian White

Zeke - Laz Alonso

Aunt Jackie - Valarie Pettiford

Uncle Nate - Harry J. Lennix

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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