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August 6, 2012

Movie Review: Freak Dance (2010)

Directed by Matt Besser, Neil Mahoney

Starring Joshua Allen, Edwin J. Bennett and Matt Besser

When rich girl Cocolonia (Megan Heyn) cant shake her booty at home because of her uptight mom (Amy Poehler), she hits the streets, determined to live the lifestyle of a poor, uneducated street dancer. She soon hooks up with a group of  dancers who are about to lose their dance-studio if they cannot come up with money to pay the fines levied by the building inspector.

Together with her new dance partner Funky Bunch (Michael Cassady), Cocolonia must partake in the most dangerous and forbidden dance of them all, The Freak Dance, in a dance-fight to the finish against their arch-rivals, led by the flamboyantly sinister Dazzle (Drew Droege), in an attempt to win enough money to save the studio. The last time The Freak Dance was performed was when the former leader of Funky Bunch’s troupe, Astonaut (Corby Griesenbeck) performed it with Dazzle’s sister.......resulting in Astonaut losing his penis and Dazzle’s sister dying from a shattered spine.

Musicals, for me, have always been like drinking whiskey straight from the bottle. Its just something that I have never had the constitution for. So putting aside my prejudices and giving an objective review was my main goal here. When the movie was over and it was all said and done, I was quite surprised to find that I actually had a pretty good time watching Freak Dance.

Yeah, it is a musical, which means that its basically a series of song & dance skits strung together to tell a story. But at its core, Freak Dance is a comedy, and in that respect it shines like a brand new pair of platform disco shoes. A few of the scenes fell flat, but the ones that didn't were just flat-out, fucked-up funniness.

The goofy tone of the movie is set in the first scene when Funky Bunch and the gang show up at the hospital to visit their leader, Astonaut, who has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor resulting from his legendary ability to defy gravity and break-dance on the ceiling. Rebuffed by the receptionist who doesn't want any “dirty street dancers” soiling the hospital, Funky Bunch begins shooting energy beams at everyone in sight, causing nurses, doctors and patients alike to instantly turn into break-dancing, pop-locking minions who all break into song. Stupid? Yes. Funny? Absolutely. Another great scene involves Cocolonia and Funky Bunch doing a dirty-dancing type number in a slaughterhouse. I am fairly certain this is the first time in the history of cinema where a song and dance number is pulled off while the performers are in the act of butchering a pig with a meat cleaver. Completely covered in blood, Funky Bunch pulls Cocolonia close, looks deeply into her eyes and says, “Is my penis too poor for you?” (Cinema Gold right there kids) And I am  not exaggerating when I tell you the big Freak Dance finale actually had me in tears, as the two competing dance duo’s take turns committing every conceivable form of simulated sexual debauchery imaginable.

As much as I hate to admit it, this movie was pretty bad-ass. Which brings up a horrifying dilemma for me.....Does this now mean I am a fan of.....Musicals? I am not sure if I am quite there yet but I am definitely a fan of this movie. Sure, its stupid, but at the same time its actually quite creative and original in its quest for laughs.

Good times & highly recommended!

7 out of 10  

*Directors audio commentary
*Deleted and extended scenes
*The dangers of Freak Dancing

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