"Make It Happen"
(Courtesy of GV)
Genre: Drama/Romance Director: Darren Grant Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tessa Thompson,
Riley Smith, Julissa Bermudez, Ashley Roberts RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins Released By: GV Rating: PG
Opening Day: 4 September 2008
Lauryn (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a young woman from a small
town in Indiana who moves to Chicago with dreams of entering
the Chicago School of Music and Dance. But after rejection
and a series of misfortunes she finds herself working in a
burlesque club. The club proves to be a place of conflict
and self-discovery, helping Lauryn to realize that even though
plans may change, dreams never do.
Let’s face it. Movies of the inspiration genre have
been greatly saturated. Gone
are the days when it is possible to feel truly inspired to
reach for our dreams
regardless of the odds after watching such films. Nowadays,
it takes a lot more
imagination and creativity to inject something fresh into
the genre. Simply stating
that 'dreams can come true if you persevere' does not quite
hit the mark.
the footsteps, or rather dance steps of 1983’s "Flashdance",
"Make It Happen" tells the story of Lauryn (Mary
Elizabeth Winstead), a young girl from a small town in Indiana
who dreams of entering the Chicago School of Music and Dance.
After getting rejected during her audition, she finds solace
in the form of Dana (Tessa Thompson), an exotic dancer who
helps her with shelter and a job at the Ruby’s nightclub
in the city of Chicago. The club’s owner, Brenda (Karen
LeBlanc) offers her a book-keeping job at first, but when
things don’t turn out well with her main dancer Carmen
(Julissa Bermudez), Lauryn gets the chance to shine as an
exotic dancer herself. With her newfound fame, she starts
to wonder whether she should proceed along this path or pursue
her lifelong dream again. Of course, with a title like "Make
It Happen", it takes no genius to figure out what Lauryn's
choice would be.
Elizabeth Winstead, last seen as Bruce Willis’ daughter
in "Die Hard 4.0" and the protagonist in "Final
Destination 3", does a decent job in carrying the film
through her passable acting and her far more impressive dancing.
The supporting cast is decent enough as well. In fact, 'decent'
is the only fitting description I can give in terms of acting
for this film. The only reason Winstead stands out is that
she is the main actress, thus allowing her the most screen
time compared to the rest of the cast. Besides her slick dance
moves, it helps too that she gets to flaunt her superb figure,
especially her abdominal area.
all the energy spent on dancing, "Make It Happen"
is surprisingly lifeless in its storytelling. Things come
and go in a formulaic way at such a quick pace that it is
easy to lose interest except when the dance scenes are on.
Speaking of which, the choreography is well executed, supplemented
by catchy pop and hip-hop tunes. The characters though are
paper-thinly two-dimensional, making it difficult to relate
to them. There is the obligatory love interest for Lauryn
in Russ (Riley Smith) the club deejay, yet even the romantic
scenes feel forced and mechanical. Little wonder that these
are the results since the film is written by Duane Adler,
who previously wrote the screenplay for "Step Up"
and its sequel, another line of movies about dancing. Earlier,
I made a reference to "Flashdance" with regards
to the storyline of "Make It Happen". Incidentally,
the phrase 'make it happen' is part of the lyrics of the "Flashdance"
theme song "What a Feeling", as if to prove that
ripping off the storyline is not enough for the filmmakers,
so it is more worthwhile to rip off the title too.
all the talking and dancing, "Make It Happen" is
worth only a rental at best when it gets released on DVD.
Moviegoers yearning for some inspirational moments are better
off looking for them elsewhere. I believe the real life stories
of some athletes in the recently concluded Beijing Olympics
would fare much better in touching hearts than this film.
(Nothing exciting actually happens in "Make It Happen",
unless you are fond of watching dance sequences on the big