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(2006), PG-13 [PG-13*] (1hr 42min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
August 14, 2006
58 out of 100

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2006), PG-13 [PG-13*] -- ...has a couple "good things" to say.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Eketahuna LLC, Summit Entertainment, Touchstone Pictures
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures, Summit Entertainment
Director(s): Anne Fletcher
Producer(s): Erik Feig, David Garrett, Jennifer Gibgot, Bob Hayward, Adam Shankman, John H. Starke, Patrick Wachsberger
Story: Duane Adler
Screenplay: Duane Adler, Melissa Rosenberg
Music: Aaron Zigman
Film Editing: Nancy Richardson
Casting: Joanna Colbert, Carlyn Davis, Richard Mento
Production Design: Shepherd Frankel
Art Direction: Laura Ballinger
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

I am surprised Julia Stiles didn't make at least a cameo appearance. Step Up  seems like a photocopy of Save the Last Dance with some smears of toner. One of the smears is of a young boy, after being taught how to steal cars by his older brother and his friend, is murdered for it.

It is basically the same story. A rather well-to-do high school girl dancer, Nora Clark (Jenna Dewan) meets up with a street kid, Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) and that makes everything better. Subjectively speaking though, while I am no more a dance expert than I am a movie critic, there were some rather sharp dance routines in this flick. And the music wasn't that bad in a couple places, either. Talent? It was also pretty good. In a couple places.

And Step Up  has a couple "good things" to say. One is that hard work can bring one up out of the pits and miry clay of delinquency. But Jesus can do a better job of it. [Ps. 40:2] The other is to not give up. But we must each understand that though a destination may be noble, it does not excuse an ignoble path.

A couple times while viewing a PG-13 film I did not expect it to earn a PG-13 equivalent final score because it seemed more "tame" than other PG-13 films. That is the way Step Up  seemed. But it wasn't. Step Up  earned a final score of 58 out of 100, placing it squarely in the range of scores earned by PG-13 films (55 to 67 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. This is yet another example of how the CAP analysis model could not care less what I think. At least Step Up  is not R-13 like most PG-13 films nowadays. And Harvard University agreed with us ... four years after we published our first R-13 finding.

Low-key Baltimore car thief and epitome of attitude Tyler lives with his caring but idiot foster mother and drunken foster father as he completes his senior year of high school. He and his best friend Mac Carter (Damaine Radcliff) are teaching Mac's younger brother, Skinny (De'Shawn Washington) how to steal cars, too.

Before I go any farther, I want to share some truth with you. Please do not get any ideas about foster care if you watch this film. My wife and I have provided foster care for 31 kids over 14 years and foster care is not like this film portrays it to be. Believe it.

In an accidental window-breaking, the trio decide to break-and-enter the establishment that now has a broken window. It is the Maryland School of the Arts - a high school for art students. After trashing enough property to equal the tuition of a student, security (Frank Ferrara) captures Tyler as Mac as Skinny scamper off.

Now Tyler must serve 200 hours of community service to the MSA doing whatever needs to be done. Sweep. Mop. Clean windows. Including the windows in the dance practice room where Nora captured his eye. Soon, by injury to Nora's boyfriend partner, Tyler took his place. In more ways than one.

The Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area found that this film is not all that violent but it has its share of illegal/criminal behaviors. Violence included matters such as assault and fighting but criminal examples included car theft, chop shopping, breaking and entering and more. [Hab. 2:9]

The Impudence/Hate (I) investigation are found enough matters of impudence such as language, arrogance, defiance and lying to make Step Up  equivalent to some "hard" R-rated films. Eleven uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Matt. 12:36, 2 Tim. 2:16 - 17], mischief, teaching the younger to steal [Luke 17:2], adolescent hate talk to mother, lying and defiance of mom's order's which resulted in the murder of Skinny. [Exod. 20:12]

The only nudity in this film is statue nudity and no one gets in bed with anyone else but the Sexual Immorality (S) investigation area still found enough matters of sexual orientation and behaviors to make this film equivalent to some "lite" R-rated films. None of the matters were all that bold but there were so many of them that the total envelope of their influence reached into the realm of "lite" R. [Gal. 5:19, Col. 3:5]

The Drugs/Alcohol (D) investigation area found teen and adult drinking and drug dealing. [Eph. 5:18]

The Offense to God (O) investigation area found five uses of God's name in vain but only without the four letter expletive, not that leaving out the four letter expletive excuses the use of His name in vain. The use of His name in vain is a sin. Adding the four letter expletive just compounds the sin. [Deut. 5:11]

The Murder/Suicide (M) investigation area found a horrible finger-pointing murder death. Skinny, who was being taught how to steal cars by his brother Mac, was shot and killed by the owner of one of the cars Skinny broke into. There is a perfect example of the application of Luke 17:2. Unless forgiven, Jesus says Mac would be better off if a millstone were tied about his neck then cast into the sea. An since Jesus will be the One setting in the Throne of Judgment I suspect He has the authority to say so.

The listing of observations in the Findings/Scoring section will provide all that was noted.


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  • Ps. 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings ["goings" is ashshur: step, going, i.e., direction, ostensibly safe and noble direction.].
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
  • Matt. 12:36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
  • 2 Tim. 2:16 - 17 But shun profane [ungodly] and vain babblings [empty, useless]: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker...
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
  • Col. 3:5 Put to death [mortify, deprive of power, destroy the strength of], therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. This issue is do not get intoxicated and not abuse the body. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance such as underage drinking. A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them and arrogance/defiance with them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why is there and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding.]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective  heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Step Up (2006) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • assault
  • fight
  • cowardice with a firearm (threat with gun when losing fight)
  • breaking and entering
  • vandalism
  • threat of bodily harm
  • dealing in stolen cars, repeated appearance
  • adolescent stealing cars

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • eleven uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary by teens
  • mischief
  • belittlement of fostercare
  • teaching younger brother to steal cars
  • adolescent hate talk to mother
  • one use of the three/four letter word vocabulary in background song
  • adolescent lie to shield brother's whereabouts
  • lie to mother
  • defiance of mom's instructions leading to death

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts, repeatedly
  • inappropriate touch in dance and once otherwise
  • rude gaze, repeatedly
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly
  • sexual innuendo
  • homosexual inference
  • statue nudity
  • talk of females as sexual conquests
  • below navel skin threatening exposure of that which follows
  • kissing on school grounds, repeatedly

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • teen drinking
  • adult drinking
  • drug dealing

    Offense to God (O)
  • five uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • older brother and friend teaching younger brother to steal cars resulting in younger brother's murder by gunfire (deed unseen but heard and with body)

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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