Netflix covers a wide variety of content across a number of genres however it’s a platform that still seems to have a distinct ‘brand’ within each genre. Work It is a dance film that fits entirely within this ‘brand’ on Netflix.
Work It follows Quinn Ackerman (Sabrina Carpenter) who enters a dance competition in order to ensure she gets into the college of her dreams, only issue is… she needs to learn how to dance. The film has a pretty straightforward story but does throw in a couple of curveballs here and there. Quinn’s journey makes for a pleasantly entertaining film incorporating good humour, solid performances and a fun story. For the most part, the plot is on a guided path to the finish line, and although that’s not amazing, there’s nothing bad about that and it really works. It has a bit of inconsistency in the pacing to where a couple of times it feels like it’s taking steps back rather than forward, but overall it’s a good time.
One thing I will not about this film that has its pros and cons is that it doesn’t really build towards a grand finale. It does build towards something over the course of the film, but it’s not something like a world-final dance competition. What really works there is that it makes the whole thing seem more believable. For a character who has just learnt to dance, it would be a bit of a stretch to see them in any major competition, and the film reflects that well enough. That being said, it may be just a tad underwhelming in terms of having a big ending. It does get points for doing what’s best for the main character’s arc rather than going for an ending that blows the roof off.
In terms of the performances, they’re all pretty good across the board. Sabrina Carpenter really gets into her character who is the more ‘academic’ type and sells it well. For someone who I’m sure can dance really well, she made me believe she was really learning to dance over the course of the film. She also has this charisma that does draw you into the film’s story and her main arc. Jordan Fisher plays professional dancer Jake Taylor and even he has an energy that draws you to his character. He plays really well alongside Sabrina. Keiynan Lonsdale is given the villain role of the film and portrays the leader of the rival dance team. I thought his performance was also spot on, but the character did feel a little too cut and paste. I get it’s playing on the ‘rival dance leader’ cliché but it felt a bit much.
One I haven’t mentioned, Liza Koshy, is the star of the show. It’s her humour and impeccable comedic timing that really makes the film more than what it would have been otherwise. From the visual humour to the one-liners, whenever she’s on-screen it’s a better film than when she’s not. Without her, I feel like the film wouldn’t have enough humour to elevate it. A very brief supporting role from Michelle Buteau does bring a handful of laughs, but nothing much really comes from any of the other characters. At least nothing memorable.
In the end, Work It is pretty much exactly the type of movie I expected it to be. It’s a solid dance film with good performances and a solid story that has some pacing issues here and there. The dance sequences are really fun, Sabrina Carpenter leads the film well and Liza Koshy lights up the screen whenever she’s on. If you’re a fan of the ‘Netflix dance film’ I’d say to definitely check this one out.