An awkward eighteen-year-old girl named Quinn Ackerman (Sabrina Carpenter) achieves near-perfection by sheer hard work. She vows to transform her gawkiness through dance, and refine her skills until she competes at a competition.
Right from the opening scene of Laura Terruso’s Work It, you can feel the good vibes and happy-go-lucky tone of the movie seeping right out of the screen. It’s an extremely breezy watch with tons of brilliantly choreographed dance sequences that are sure to put a smile on anybody’s face, whether you are heavily into dancing or not.
This is a coming-of-age story with an interesting premise. We are so used to seeing movies in this genre where a girl or boy is going through some hard times at school and in their personal life and has to overcome their challenges to learn to love who they are, faults and all. This film doesn’t go for that, though. It’s definitely a journey of self-love but it’s so much more than that. Quinn Ackerman is a high achieving student at school that never gets anything less than an A on any sort of school paper.
Her whole life is basically devoted to studying for various tests and taking several extracurricular courses to ensure that she will be accepted into the university of her dreams – Duke. Her late father attended the school, and as a result, Quinn feels an unbreakable connection to the place. She says that she could definitely look into applying to other colleges or universities such as Yale or Harvard, but feels a deep connection to Duke.
When she goes to apply though, things don’t go one-hundred percent as planned when the hiring manager starts to find Quinn a tad bit boring. What does Quinn do? She makes up a lie and says that she is a dancer at her school which manages to intrigue the hiring manager. She says that she will be attending the school’s upcoming Work It dance competition, which causes Quinn to think fast and plan on starting her own dance team – the TBDs.
The journey that Quinn goes on was extremely heart-warming and incredibly fun to watch. What started off as her dancing simply so she could have a chance at being accepted into her dream university eventually turns into a genuine love for the art. She isn’t just dancing to impress people anymore – she actually really loves it. At first, though, she isn’t the best dancer and it’s quite noticeable. That’s when she enlists the help of a former dance choreographer that used to attend her school named Jake Taylor (Jordan Fisher).
The chemistry that actress Sabrina Carpenter and Jordan Fisher have with one another is some of the best I have seen all year. Really, the whole entire dance group has terrific chemistry. If you were to tell me that these actors actually did have a dance group in real life and were all best friends, I wouldn’t question you for even a second. Carpenter in particular though is remarkable here. I have been championing her work for years and I’m glad that more people are starting to take notice of her with every new project she works on whether it’s a brand new song or a new movie. She truly never disappoints and this is certainly no exception.
Work It is not one-hundred percent perfect, though. It does suffer from having an unfortunately predictable storyline that the majority of its viewers are going to see coming a mile away. There aren’t many surprises in store and screenwriter Alison Peck doesn’t really do anything to drastically change up the game, but sometimes following a tried-and-true formula isn’t a bad thing. This is a greatly enjoyable movie with tons of cheery, upbeat dance moments with a heartwarming dynamic at its center with its dance group. It may not be the most game-changing coming-of-age tale out there, but it is one that put a massive smile on my face and made me appreciate the art of dancing a whole lot more.
Work It is an infectiously fun and heartwarming coming-of-age story with a variety of excellently choreographed dance sequences and strong chemistry amongst its cast.
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: TV-14
Directed by: Laura Terruso
Distributed by: Netflix
Release Date: August 7, 2020
Running Time: 93 minutes