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"CENTER STAGE"
(2000) (Amanda Schull, ZoŽ Saldana) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Minor Heavy None None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Mild Mild None


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Facing long odds, petty differences and lots of hard work, a disparate group of young dancers tries to prove their worth and gain acceptance into the prestigious American Ballet Company.
PLOT:
Jody Sawyer (AMANDA SCHULL) is a young dancer who's just been accepted into the training classes conducted by the American Ballet Company of New York that's looking for three men and three women to add to its current troupe. Although Jody doesn't have the perfect form or technique, those testing her sense a certain innate ability to perform and the fact that she's rather attractive certainly doesn't hurt matters.

Jody's roommates are Eva Rodriguez (ZOň SALDANA), a gifted dancer with a bad attitude, and Maureen Cummings (SUSAN MAY PRATT), the best dancer of the bunch who's known for her cold demeanor and omnipresent stage mother, Nancy (DEBRA MONK), who continually pushes her daughter to succeed.

The girls then meet other students in training, including Erik (SHAKIEM EVANS), a young gay dancer who's interested in Charlie (SASCHA RADETSKY) whose girlfriend has just dumped him prior to him arriving, as well as Sergei (ILIA KULIK), a Russian dancer, and Emily (VICTORIA BORN), a troupe veteran who's put on some weight.

Under the tutelage of director Jonathan Reeves (PETER GALLAGHER) and his assistants Juliette (DONNA MURPHY) and Cooper (ETHAN STIEFEL), the company choreographer, the students begin the long and arduous hours of practice and training, each hoping to gain a spot in a big performance that will then determine whether they make the final cut or not.

As the longstanding competition between Jonathan and Cooper escalates - due to the former stealing Kathleen (JULIE KENT) from the latter and both vying for the financial backing of Joan Miller (ELIZABETH HUBBARD) - the students compete against each other and themselves. With Maureen finally loosening up a bit after she starts seeing Jim (EION BAILEY), a pre-med student, Eva learning that her bad attitude is probably hampering her prospects, and Jody having to deal with various romantic interests as well as her less than perfect style that's endangering her chances, the students continue to work hard as they prepare for their big shot at joining the ballet company.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Teens may be drawn by the young cast, as might those who enjoy vibrant and hip "dance" movies.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For language and some sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • AMANDA SCHULL plays a young dancer who's just been accepted into the ABC program despite not necessarily having the proper form or skills. As such, she works quite hard to achieve her dream. Along the way she occasionally gets frustrated and fed up with the process and involved individuals. She also falls for and sleeps with Cooper.
  • ZOň SALDANA plays a gifted dancer with a bad/surly attitude who eventually changes her ways. She also uses some strong profanity and smokes.
  • SUSAN MAY PRATT plays one of the troupe's best dancers who comes off as a cold and snobbish young woman who eventually loosens up but cracks under the pressure of her "stage mom" mother (played by DEBRA MONK) and constantly purges herself to keep down her weight.
  • SHAKIEM EVANS plays one of the new dancers who happens to be gay.
  • SASCHA RADETSKY plays another dancer who becomes interested in Jody.
  • ILIA KULIK plays a Russian dancer.
  • PETER GALLAGHER plays the arrogant and opinionated director of the ballet company.
  • DONNA MURPHY plays the leading female instructor who must deal with the students' varying abilities and attitudes and turns out to have their best interests in mind.
  • ETHAN STIEFEL plays the company's cocky choreographer and ladies man who gives Jody the cold shoulder after eventually bedding her.
  • EION BAILEY plays a pre-med student who's interested in Maureen and tries to help break her out of her shell and deal with her bulimia.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated drama. Profanity is rated as heavy due to 1 use of the "f" word, while other profanities and colorful phrases are also present. A sexual encounter between a student and one of the instructors takes place (off camera - we see them kissing and getting onto the bed beforehand and then see them under the sheets afterwards), and a dance number is somewhat sexually charged with part of it occurring on a stage bed with some "artistic" based fooling around. Other nightclub dancing involves plenty of sensuous dancing with gyrating bodies and occasionally roving hands.

    Various characters exhibit varying degrees of bad attitudes (including the above instructor who gives that student the cold shoulder after having sex with her, as well as one student known for being "bitchy" and another who simply has a bad attitude). Some of the characters smoke and drink (with a few of them appearing a bit tipsy one night and then having hangovers the next morning), while one female student is bulimic (she purges herself to keep her weight down).

    Beyond that and a few tense family moments between a mother and daughter, the rest of the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home who wishes to see this picture, you may want to take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Eva and others have beer.
  • The girls comment that some man (possibly Cooper) "drinks like a fish" and "screws every girl in tights."
  • People have wine at a reception.
  • People have drinks in a club, as do Jody, Eva, Erik, Charlie and Sergei (who later drinks a shot of liquor). Later, that group seems a bit tipsy and the next day they appear to be suffering from hangovers.
  • Some people drink beer in a bowling alley.
  • Cooper pours wine for himself and Jody.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see some reddened/bloody blisters on Jody's toes.
  • On several instances, we hear Maureen vomiting in a bathroom (purging herself to keep her weight down).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Eva has both types of attitudes toward nearly everyone but Jodie and Erik, and is late for class, badmouths others and talks back to her instructors, etc. but eventually comes around later in the film.
  • Jonathan and Cooper don't like each other and don't hide that fact, although they still work together on a professional basis.
  • Maureen's mother pushes her daughter to the limits to achieve success in ballet that she couldn't do herself (and refers to Eva as "trash").
  • Maureen jokes that Emily's partner will need a crane to lift her during the dance (due to her putting on some weight). She's also initially somewhat full of herself and her abilities, but she later changes her ways.
  • Cooper gives Jody the cold shoulder after sleeping with her (and later tells her, "I don't care what the hell you want").
  • Emily states that Jonathan essentially made her leave because he thought she was too fat for the company.
  • After Jim confronts Maureen about her bulimia problem, she's condescending to him as she leaves (stating that she's the best ballet dancer in the company and then adding, "Who the hell are you? Nobody!").
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Screws" and "Take it all, bitch" (both sexual), "Bastards," "Rack" (breasts), "Chick" (woman), "Bitch," "Slut," "What the hell?" "Did you go to a special bitch academy?" "Suck," "Moron," "Piss off," "Idiot," "Screwed up" and "Nuts" (crazy).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 7 "s" words, 1 slang term for sex ("screw"), 3 slang terms using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 1 slang term for breasts ("rack"), 6 asses, 5 hells, 14 uses of "Oh my God," 6 of "Oh God," 5 of "God," 3 of "Jesus," 2 of "For God's sakes" and 1 use each of "G-damn" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Erik is gay, but other than a few related comments (about being interested in Charlie), no related activity is seen.
  • The girls comment that some man (possibly Cooper) "drinks like a fish" and "screws every girl in tights."
  • As Jody is lifted up on the stage, we briefly see a great deal of her upper thighs (as her dress rides up).
  • A man and Jody do some salsa dancing at a club where a lot of sashaying occurring and he runs his hands down her body and grabs ahold of her butt while dancing.
  • Sergei talks to a woman whose outfit shows off her cleavage.
  • A friend of Jim's tells a joke about an elephant and a mouse (that wants to have its way with the elephant). The joke then goes on about some coconuts hitting the elephant's rump (making it think something sexual is occurring) and the mouse giving the punch line to the elephant, "Take it all, bitch!"
  • During a dance class (where we see many gyrating and thrusting bodies), both Jody and the camera focus on Cooper's clothed butt.
  • Cooper and Jody make out and remove each other's tops/shirts (we see her in her bra). He then lies down on top of her on his bed. Time then passes and we see them in bed, under the sheets, and presumably after sex (we do see her bare back as she sits up in bed).
  • As Cooper instructs Jody and Erik about their practiced dance, he says that it's about sex and that he wants them to feel it.
  • We see that Maureen has apparently been sleeping over at Jim's, but don't know if they've had sex or not.
  • During a modernized ballet number, Cooper and Jody perform together on stage in a sexually charged dance number that includes him putting her down on a stage bed, her acting sensuously (and wearing a short skirt and a top that she removes to reveal a bikini top), and then him on top of her on the bed (moving around in a dance-like way).
  • SMOKING
  • Eva smokes around 5 times, while Cooper and Erik smoke several times and some background/miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Maureen and her mom have a few tense moments when the former tells the latter that she can't dance anymore (because she's not happy, especially about her mom continually pushing her to succeed).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The world of ballet dancers.
  • That Jody was accepted into the program because of the way she looks and not due to her technique and/or form.
  • The fact that Maureen constantly purges herself to keep her weight down, and her "stage mother" who continually tries pushing her to success (in an arena in which she didn't succeed when she was younger).
  • VIOLENCE
  • None.



  • Reviewed May 4, 2000 / Posted May 12, 2000

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