Stomp the Yard

Opens at Pacific Place and other theaters, Fri., Jan. 12. Rated PG-13. 115 minutes.

From the eardrum-shattering shout of "Attention!" that echoes over the opening logo through to the strobe-lit krump dancing contest that follows, the early scenes of Stomp the Yard are so loud and incoherent that they feel like punishment. After an equally incomprehensible street brawl, director Sylvain White pauses long enough to introduce his protagonist—DJ (Columbus Short), a talented young dancer incarcerated for his role in said brawl and, upon his release, shipped by his mom from South Central to an Atlanta college. There, DJ falls for a fine sister whose father—the dean—doesn't look kindly on his little angel socializing with an ex-felon. What's a brother to do? Why, put his fancy footwork to use in service of step-dancing competitions, a tradition at black fraternities and sororities, which, filmed with an overload of slow- motion effects and high-speed shutters, are about as cinematic as a televised Riverdance concert. Newcomer Short has charisma, charm, and athleticism to burn, but it's mostly for naught in a movie that spends two tedious hours pulling out every stop in the gold-hearted-kid-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks-meets-gold-hearted-girl-who-values-true-love-above-privilege playbook. SCOTT FOUNDAS

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