Posted by: greercn | May 15, 2013

All Stars

“All Stars” is the best Brit film aimed at young teenagers in a long time. Yes, comparisons are begged with “Street Dance”, but this stands by itself, alongside such great shows as “Press Gang” and has similar balancing of activity and back stories.

A youth club is under threat from a local council that wants extra car parking space. There’s an appeal, but that’s lost.

Will our heroes save the day? And are they terrific dancers?

Actually, there’s only one amazing dancer and actor here among the young folks in the hero crew and that’s Akai Osei-Mansfield, who is a big star of the future.

There’s a nice nod to “Footloose” in how Akai’s character Jaden is banned from dancing. The fantasy sequence while Jaden is meant to be answering exam questions is visually original and stylish.

Theo Stevenson plays Ethan, with a rather touching history that will have resonance for many young and old people.

Among the adults helping and hindering are Ashley Jensen, who has a lovely turn as the youth club leader. John Barrowman, Hugh Dennis and Mark Heap are among the many adult celebrities who have their moments.

Of the kids, there’s the entrepreneur, the dancer, the posh kids, the fat one and the martial arts gal who all band together to form a street dancing crew.

It’s good to see strong female characters although – of course – they aren’t the stars.

And there’s Kieran Lai as the leader of the opposing crew who, frankly, can all dance better than the others, apart from Akai. Kieran is terrific.

In the end, it’s a feelgood fantasy that mangles London’s geography and shows off lots of great moves. The 3D is pretty, but adds little.

Ben Gregor directs and has a real feeling for the real emotions of teenagers.

This film deserves to do well on DVD and on TV. I saw it at Stratford Picturehouse and thoroughly enjoyed a very pleasant movie aimed at the very young.

Still, sly digs at local government, cuts to services for kids and harsh comments on the ambitions of parents will all keep the teens and pre-teens amused. And I will watch it again, when it’s shown on TV. This will be a guilty pleasure for those who love dance and are young or just young at heart.

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