Make It Happen (January 20/09)
Saddled with the thinnest of storylines, Make It Happen quickly establishes itself as yet another tedious inspirational tale revolving around a would-be dancer's efforts at transcending her wrong-side-of-the-tracks upbringing to become a professional hoofer. It's certainly not surprising to note that the film has been co-written by Duane Adler - he of such similarly-themed fare as 2001's Save the Last Dance and 2006's Step Up - as the scripter's reliance on the hoariest cliches that the genre has to offer ensures that there are few surprises held within the 90-minute running time (ie the movie seems to have emerged directly from a dance-movie template).
Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as Lauryn, a small-town girl whose dreams of studying dance at a prestigious Chicago school are quashed after an arrogant judge shuts her down almost instantly - thus forcing her to take on a job as a bookkeeper within an up-and-coming burlesque club.
The excessive familiarity of the set-up is exacerbated by the unusually uneventful sensibilities of Adler and Nicole Avril's screenplay, with the pair's decision to emphasize Lauryn's increasingly tedious day-to-day routine proving disastrous - as the character's hopelessly predictable trajectory has been augmented with a series of equally eye-rolling encounters (ie Lauryn must deal with a bitchy rival, Lauryn romances a wannabe musician, etc).
There's consequently never a point wherein the viewer is able to work up any genuine enthusiasm for Lauryn's plight, which - ultimately - ensures that Make It Happen is unlikely to hold much appeal for viewers outside of the target demographic (ie indiscriminating teenaged girls might find something here worth embracing, admittedly).