Direction: Remo D'Souza
Actors: Prabhudeva, Ganesh Acharya
A dance film should work like a shot of espresso. It should give you an adrenalin kick and leave you buzzing.
ABCD: Any Body Can Dance is India's first 3D dance film. Taking a cue from Hollywood's Step Up series, director-choreographer Remo D'Souza packs in a television dance competition, several elaborate dance sequences, a romantic rivalry and the requisite rich-poor divide.
ABCD also has ace choreographer Prabhudheva playing a dance teacher who reforms wayward slum youth through his magic moves.
The formula is in place, only the energy is missing.
The first half of ABCD is mystifyingly dull. Dance films inevitably have predictable plots but here the problem is compounded by uniformly weak performances.
Remo has selected dancers rather than actors - many of the leads are participants from a television show in which Remo was a judge.
Their bodies can do incredible contortions but their faces barely register any expressions.
The amateurish writing doesn't help either. As a result, no one makes much of an impression. Neither does the music by Sachin-Jigar, or the dancing. The climactic dance sequence is a knockout, but the rest of the footwork blurs.
Similarly, the melodious Bezubaan stands out but the rest of the songs are indistinguishable.
Thankfully, the film picks up steam in the second half, in which the scrappy slumdogs go against the rich Jehangir Dance Academy, which is, inexplicably, filled with blondes doing ballet. No prizes for guessing who wins.
ABCD works itself up to a rousing climax. And as the end credits roll, you get to see Prabhudheva, Ganesh Acharya and Saroj Khan matching moves, which of course is great fun.
But the best thing you can say about this film is that it's earnest. It could have been so much more.