I saw the trailers for "You Got Served" a month before release and broke into laughter. The film's cheesy title, ultra-serious "dance battles" and ridiculous dialogue made the picture look like something that should have been heading direct-to-video instead of to a theatrical release.
...And then the film went and made $16m opening weekend, rounding up a $40m total when it was all said and done. After watching the film, my first response would be, "how?". The film stars members of the former hip-hop group B2K, who apparently have quite an audience, given the grosses of this film. Mostly involving dancing and a few scenes in-between to serve as filler, the group's fans would have been better served by a dance video (which is coming soon, apparently) instead of making viewers sit through the film's attempts at dialogue. As for the dance sequences, they've seemingly been stuck in a blender, as the picture cuts every 2 seconds.
The film's minor story revolves around a few crews of dancers who compete in "8 Mile"-ish dance-offs, with the crowd deciding the winner. David (Omarion of B2K) and Elgin (Marques Houston) are a pair of dancers whose crew are rising up the local ranks, eventually setting their sights on competing for a featured spot in a Lil' Kim video. Unfortunately, love gets in the way as Elgin falls for David's sister, Liyah (Jennifer Freeman), angering her protective brother. There's also double crosses, stolen moves ("Bring It On") and plenty of other cliches scattered about.
The performances are amateurish - even comedian Steve Harvey doesn't provide much of a bright spot as the announcer of the dance-offs. The dancing is awfully good; the choreography here is more impressive than in Jessica Alba's "Honey", but everything else is worse: the story is awful and the "drama" is painful and sometimes rather silly. Great dancing could make for a great music video; a few stretches of impressive dancing in a glacially paced 95-minute movie doesn't make up for "You Got Served" lacking just about everything else you'd expect from a film.
VIDEO: "You Got Served" is presented by Columbia/Tristar in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Despite the film's music video editing style and rather low-key locations, the film's cinematography (by "Blue Crush"'s David Hennings) isn't too bad and this transfer presents the film fairly well. Sharpness and detail are mostly very good, as fine details are often apparent even into the backgrounds.
A few minor traces of compression artifacts showed up in some dimly-lit interiors, but aside from that, the picture appeared free of edge enhancement, print debris and any of the usual faults. The film's bright, vivid color palette looked very good, with well-saturated tones and no smearing.
SOUND: "You Got Served" is presented by Columbia/Tristar in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's soundtrack was surprisingly low-key, aside from the dance sequences - even then, it really didn't ramp up that much. Surrounds are used in basic fashion to reinforce the hip-hop beats during the dance numbers, but pretty much go unused for the rest of the film. Audio quality was fine, if not exceptional: I expected the music to be a bit more dynamic, but dialogue remained clean and clear.
Final Thoughts: The dancing in "You Got Served" is impressive; everything else about the film was not. I'd much rather have seen a documentary about the choreography, training or the rehearsal process for a tour than see good dancing in-between drama I found totally involving.