Christopher B. Stokes manages and produces the boy bands B2K and IMX, and, like any good manager, he's all about broadening his artists' horizons and his own at the same time. In 2001, Stokes directed IMX frontman Marques Houston in House Party 4, a sad retread which proved conclusively that Houston was no Kid or Play. Stokes, Houston, and Houston's ill-advised mustache fare better in You Got Served, a wooden 'hood drama nearly redeemed by terrific dancing. In a decidedly non-star-making performance, Houston sulks his way through his role as a feisty dancer who finances his career with periodic forays into petty crime. Alas, Houston proves more skilled as a dancer than as a crook, and is robbed of money owed to a glowering Suge Knight type, an event that causes a rift in Houston's friendship and professional partnership with Omarion (of B2K). Meanwhile, a pair of white boy-band rejects, perhaps emboldened by repeat viewings of Bring It On, battle Houston and his crew with moves they stole from them. (The chutzpah!) You Got Served opens with a fantastic dance battle that's got just about everything: rhythm, grace, physicality, excitement, and even a sense of humor. But then its characters have to go and start talking, setting in motion a pattern of exciting dance sequences thrown into a teeming stew of stiff performances, inept subplots, halfhearted drama, an arbitrary star-crossed romance, and dialogue bad enough to induce torrents of unintentional laughter. Like the breaksploitation epics of two decades ago, You Got Served offers viewers a trade-off: half an hour of phenomenal dancing in exchange for an hour of atrocious drama. The dance sequences and music–mainly Top 40 fare, but also the excellent likes of Aceyalone, Blackalicious, and Anthony Hamilton–are strong enough to make that proposition surprisingly tempting.
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