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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
You Got Served (2004)

"Friendship is the most important thing no matter what—win, lose, or draw".
- Mr. Rad (Steve Harvey)

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: May 17, 2004

Stars: Omarion, Marques Houston, Steve Harvey, Jennifer Freeman, J-Boog, Lil' Fizz, Raz B
Other Stars: 'Lil Kim, Narty Drew, Jerome Jones, Tanee McCall, Amanda Rodrigues, Malcolm David Kelly
Director: Christopher B. Stokes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (thematic elements, language, sexual references)
Run Time: 01h:34m:43s
Release Date: May 18, 2004
UPC: 043396031579
Genre: hip-hop


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D+ D-A-B+ C+

DVD Review

January. A month filled with broken resolutions, post holiday blahs, NFL playoff games, kids back in school, grownups venturing back to work, dreaded tax forms in the mailbox, shopping center parking lots returning to normalcy, a time for reflection, hope for the future, renewed spirits...

...and really crappy movies.

Quick: name one memorable picture you have seen in a theater in the first month of the year that doesn't have a copyright of the year previous attached to its end credits (and remember, Oscar hopefuls don't count; those are technically December releases that come out in New York and Los Angeles before emerging in the rest of the country after New Year's Day).

Stumped? I thought so. Well, let me throw out a couple of real theater packers from Januarys past: Hexed. Cricket noises of recognition, I'm sure. Hey, here's one for you: The January Man (ooh, that's a "when's that gonna come out on DVD" bulletin board thread waiting for someone to instigate). For now, that's about all this humble writer can extract from the historical archives of his mind.

Anyway, here's another candidate for the Short-Term Movie Memory Hall of Fame: You Got Served, a forgettable dance musical that's drowns in predictability from its first turntable scratch to an inevitable freeze frame finale. David (Omari Grandberry a.k.a. Omarion) and Elgin (Marques Houston) are two working-class South Central kids who are the driving force behind the best street dance crew in their territory. Confident enough to accept a challenge from a rival ensemble led by the sneeringly confident stepper known only as Wade (Christopher Jones), the two combos face off with a $5,000 bet at stake.

Unfortunately, a traitor from David and Elgin's bunch appears to have been at work as the competition mirrors many of their once original moves and are "served" top honors. It's an embarrassing moment, significant enough on its own terms to create a rift between the two best friends, but David's casual liking of El's kid sister, Liyah (Jennifer Freeman), has turned to lovin' (cue clichéd overprotective big brother storyline).

Invisible wounds to Elgin's pride soon have company when he's beaten up by punks while playing courier to a local crime boss, a gig he and David are forced to undertake due to the losses of the botched faceoff. Forced out of action due to injuries, it looks like the Elgin-David sideshow has come to an end, but the lure of a more tempting street dancing contest (how about a $5000 cash prize times 10?) including a chance to appear in a Lil' Kim video may just be the incentive for a reunion.

Reminiscent of those innocuous low-budget rock and roll movies of the 1960s that are short on plot, even more short on acting, but long on music, there are a few moments when You Got Served overcomes its deficiencies and delivers with a few somewhat credible dance sequences. But even those are marred by haphazard cuts, and lighting so bad I wondered if the electricity bill had been paid in full. Shortcomings by dancers turned first-time actors (like Grandberry and Houston) are forgivable in my book, but when their art is compromised by ineptitude and the quick cash-in circumstances surrounding this turkey of a movie that winds up G.O.A. (gobble on arrival), it's not that easy to be in a forgiving mood.

What director Chris Stokes should have done was throw the hackneyed script into the recycling bin, assured his real-life dancers they wouldn't have to act, take his gear, crew, and all into their real-life environment and let the cameras capture what this Hollywood-ized recreation couldn't: the real passion, dangers, and dreams that fuel their moves. I can't guarantee it would have grabbed top honors at Cannes, but I know with all my heart that such a scenario would have made for a much more rewarding experience for everyone on both sides of the lens, not to mention the audience.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Given the inconsistency of the material (murky dance sequences, natty interiors, and great outdoor locations), this is a spot-on replication that looks great when the visuals are up to par. Excellent colors, spot-on black levels, great sharpness; another nice job from Columbia.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, French (Dolby Surround)yes


Audio Transfer Review: Since the soundtrack is of the hip-hop genre, I expected a constant 5.1 assault to the senses. But aside from the music, this is a pretty subdued mix, although there are nice ambient touches every once in a while (like the nice thunderstorm effects on chapter 21). Fans of this style of music won't be disappointed; good low bass that's not overbearing and a great "you are there" presence to the dance-off sequences should please.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Hellboy, 13 Going On 30, Breakin' All The Rules, 50 First Dates, S.W.A.T.
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Track One: Video and Audio Commentary with Cast + Crew
Track Two: Director Christopher B. Stokes and Cast Commentary
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual
Layers Switch: 00h:57m:59s

Extra Extras:
  1. Serve It Up: The Making of You Got Served
  2. B2K Badaboom Music Video
  3. Battle of the Beat Clip Compilation
  4. Dance Breakdown: Interactive Multi-Angle Featurette
Extras Review: In addition to the nice a/v credentials, I must say that those who enjoyed being Served will be overjoyed at a fairly large group of extras. For many, the highlight will be the group audio commentary featuring many of the principals (including Stokes, Jones, Ivan Velez, and many of the dancers) whooping it up in a party-like atmosphere (complete with pizza). Actually, I liked this more than the film itself, especially the good-natured jabs some of the participants hurl every so often. Additionally, in the vein of Columbia's Jerry Maguire: Special Edition of a couple of years back, this track also gives us a peek (although not continuously) at the assemblage as they're being recorded (I've never seen so many open mikes since an Osmond family reunion concert). For those seeking a quieter alternative, there's an additional (audio-only) track that gathers Omarion, Houston, and the director.

Among other inclusions: a generic music video from the now defunct B2K (Badaboom) with an unadvertised plug for the soundtrack album at the end; a Battle of the Beat clip reel that montages the dance-offs in one handy 4-minute package; a 25-minute behind-the-scenes feature and a multi-angle presentation of the opening dance number, which, viewed individually, shows just how clumsily staged and crammed the participants were (but I don't want to beat a dead horse here, so I'll stop).

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

A better and more apt title for this movie? How about You Got Punked? But I'll bet you won't be laughing once this movie erases 94 minutes of your time. Unless you're an obsessive street dancing buff who has to have every head-spinning move digitally preserved, I suggest you pass on You Got Served and rent the Breakin' flicks instead.

 


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