You Got Served (2004)

you got served

“You’re just mad… ’cause tonight you suckas got served!”

The Scoop: 2004 PG-13, Directed by Chris Stokes and starring Omarion Grandberry, Marques Houston, Jennifer Freeman, Steve Harvey

Tagline: If you want respect, you’ve got to take it.

Summary Capsule: An urban dance-off shames all who participate, and all who watch, and all who share the gene pool of humanity

Justin’s rating: I can’t handle the truth

Justin’s review: Your steps echo off the walls of the dark, oppressive alley you’re currently walking down. You glance over your shoulder, imagination in hyperdrive, already regretting taking this shortcut home from the opera house. You look forward just in time to see a group of dimly lit thugsters, lacking any shred of good intent. For a long, death-laden minute, you stare at each other, waiting for the inevitable. And then it happens.

Pop-driven rap pounds out of nowhere, and the gang in front of you starts jerking around like a flock of hedgehogs that managed to step on the third rail of a subway track. It takes you a minute to realize that, no, they’re not engaging in some sort of lethal martial arts, but are in fact dancing. Dancing for no good reason. Struck by the surrealness of it all, you remain rooted, watching them and wondering what street crime has finally come to.

At the end of their spastic motions, the leader waddles in front of you and sticks two fingers in your chest (two fingers being the urban version of one finger). “Yo,” he says. “You got served!”

“Yo,” you say in return. “Who cares? Where’s your babysitter?”

People, this kind of crap just has to stop. I mean, it was sort of cutesy when Bring It On mistakenly thought that the next big sports movie movement was going to be cheerleader squads duking it out to “routines” while somehow striving to achieve a hard-core edge of respect in the teen and urban communities. It was tiresome when copycat flicks like Drumline and 8 Mile replaced cheerleading with percussion and Eminem’s whining. And now it’s just plain ridiculous that anyone, anywhere, expects us to nod with our mouths open slightly to let the drool escape and say, “Yes. Coordinated dancing is tough. It is as cool, as bad, as rad, as groovy, as solid street as anything I’ve ever seen. When I grow up, I want to prance around in order to win the respect of the homies.”

The Netflix DVD sleeve summary of this movie is as beautifully apt as any I’ve ever seen for a film, and here I quote the last sentence exactly, punctuation intact:

When another top group challenges them to a battle, David and Elgin, along with their friends, must create the “flyest” moves to retain their “cred.”

Punctuation intact, remember. Those are two sets of the most embarrassed air quotes in history. If you read that sentence and winced so sharply that your eyelashes pierced through your cornea, then there’s a great chance that You Got Served might disagree with you.

This is a movie so objectively dumb that TV’s South Park dedicated an entire half-hour to mocking it. Of course, was anyone expecting anything less than the contents of a toilet bowl from the director of — wait for it — House Party 4: Down To The Last Minute? If Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever comes back to life, this will be first and foremost on their To Do platter.

What isn’t plain sucky about this movie is instead tired and shorn. Or worn. I have sheep on my mind. Baaa. The Big Sport in town is choreographed dancing in a warehouse where manly men used to beat the pulp out of each other in movies like Bloodsport, but are now being used in this pansy enterprise. Our “good” crew of dancers, headed up by two “good” drug dealers, are unbeatable. Until they are beaten. And then they have problems within the group. And then they sort of break up. Until there’s a big, ultra-pansy dance competition. And then they get back together and complete their emasculation. Between periods of those previous sentence fragments, mentally fill in a lot of nonsensical dialogue with the complete dictionary of hokey street terms.

Now, I don’t have a problem with dancing. If you dance, great, just keep your leaping pelvis away from my face. If you like to see movies about dancing, then great, just don’t be renting this film that pretends it’s something so much more hard-core than the ballet-fest it is. You Got Served’s major in college was Silly, with a minor in Boring The Audience, and you just don’t need that in your life.

Where’s the Windex? I wanna wipe that smirk right off his face.


  • Dancing like epileptic monkeys… ohhhhkayyyy…
  • Mr. Rad?
  • Hey, it’s Token White Guy In An Urban Flick!
  • Taz?
  • $600 as a grand prize? What is this, Who Wants To Be A Cheapskate?
  • Kiki? I LOVE the names in this movie!
  • Wow, thanks for your heavy-handed urban plight there, dude
  • Don’t bug girls out. They do not like it.
  • Talk about coming on strong, and quick!
  • It took the dancers two weeks to learn the opening dance sequence.
  • An instructional dance video companion to the film called “You Got Served: Take It To The Streets” was released shortly after the movie came out on DVD.
  • All of the film’s battles were very competitive in real life. The fight that breaks out during the first battle with Wade’s crew was not in the script, but everyone was so mad at each other that they just started fighting.
  • Many theaters considered the movie to be a huge failure and therefore stopped showing it only two weeks after its release.

Groovy Quotes

Liyah: This feud is stupid, selfish, and it affects a lot of people!

Elgin: Liyah go home and stop acting like a ho!

Liyah: David, this is my crazy best friend, Beautifull.
Beautifull: And that’s with two “L”s. You gotta accentuate the “L”s. You know, let it roll off your tongue.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Bring It On
  • Breakin’
  • 8 Mile

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