Every Little Step
Time Out New York Project: Issue #707, April 16-April 22, 2009
Dirs. Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern. 2008. PG-13. 96mins. Documentary.
There’s a terribly interesting story behind the creation of the musical phenom A Chorus Line, but don’t look to this confused and often self-congratulatory documentary to tell it. Though it initially seems to be a profile of Chorus Line’s late writer-choreographer-director Michael Bennett—who convened the all-night reel-to-reel tape session out of which the show grew—Every Little Step is finally more concerned with the trifling dramas surrounding the casting of the 2006 Broadway revival. The movie takes the easy route through history and heartbreak alike.
Codirectors Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern never find a strong focus point. A whole film could be made about Jason Tam, whose audition brings the revival’s behind-the-scenes personnel to tears with astonishing ease, but the filmmakers would rather deal in rags-to-riches clichés and tried-and-true themes like, “Showbiz, ain’t it a bitch?”
The parallels between the revival cast members and their fictional counterparts are more than obvious, especially in the shared sense of struggle toward a perhaps unattainable goal. Yet Every Little Step reaches the exact opposite conclusion of the show it chronicles. When opening night rolls around, it’s no longer an all-too-brief period of respite from everyday troubles, but an equivocating fix-it to the problems of the world, a happy ending grafted awkwardly onto a constant forge.—Keith Uhlich