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:: Make It Happen

Dance is definitely the in thing at the moment. Two Australian television stations would be completely lost at the moment if they couldn’t put dance shows on for multiple nights of the week. Not surprisingly there have been an influx of dance films over the past twelve months that have tried to cash in on the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ phenomenon. But most have looked pretty ordinary when stacked up against earlier films like ‘Centre Stage’ and ‘Save The Last Dance’. That was until now, ‘Make It Happen’ is equal with those modern dance classics.

‘Make It Happen’ tells the story of Lauryn (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who travels from a small country town to Chicago in the hope of becoming a dancer with the Chicago School Of Music and Dance. She fails in her bid, but ends up working at a burlesque club where she finds friends and love, but is torn between staying there or returning to Indiana to help her brother keep their struggling family business running.

The film itself will leave you feeling a little bit torn. Director, Darren Grant has done a wonderful job with a film that breaks new ground. While we’ve seen hip-hop, ballet and ballroom dancing explored in previous films, burlesque dancing is new territory; if not risky territory considering the main appeal of this film will be to a teenage audience. He also brings out the best in Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who absolutely shines in her role. But the film does have a major weakness; one you will only notice if you’ve seen the film ‘Coyote Ugly’.

The similarities in the story of ‘Coyote Ugly’ and ‘Make It Happen’ are too close to be an accident. In ‘Coyote Ugly’ a young songwriter leaves the country to make a name for herself in the big city. She fails at an audition but finds herself working at a bar (that deals in sexuality) before finding her true calling; exactly the same happens in ‘Make It Happen’, except this time with a dancer. And the similarities don’t end their. In ‘Coyote Ugly’ the songwriter wonders if she return to the country to help her ailing father; in ‘Make It Happen’ the father is replaced with a brother with an ailing business. In ‘Coyote Ugly’ the father comes to the city and is disgusted with his daughter flaunting herself in a bar; the brother does the same in ‘Make It Happen’. The manager of Ruby’s in Make It Happen, is very similar to the manager of Coyote Ugly; while the singer and the dancer’s love interests could well be brothers if not twins. Some very scary coincidences indeed.

But like I said you will feel torn. If you’ve seen ‘Coyote Ugly’ you’ll be able to predict everything that happens in ‘Make It Happen’; but at the same time the dancing and soundtrack is so great that you will find yourself enjoying the film. “Make It Happen’ won’t win any big awards but it will entertain you… and that is the point of this kind of film. Right?