Leave it on the Floor (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/08/2012

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 109 mins

Hugely entertaining, beautifully shot musical drama with catchy songs, an emotionally engaging script, colourful characters and terrific performances from its fabulous cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Sheldon Larry, Leave it on the Floor stars Ephraim Sykes as Brad, a young black man in L.A. who's thrown out of his home by his permanently angry mother (Metra Dee) when she discovers he's gay. When he meets crossdresser Carter (Andre Myers) on the street, there's an instant attraction between them (despite the fact that they're stealing each other's wallets at the time) and Brad follows Carter to an underground voguing competition. There he meets flamboyant, gossipy Princess (Phillip Eyelyn II), lead diva/mother figure Queef Latina (Miss Barbie-Q) and the rest of the House of Eminence voguing team.

Despite Latina's objections, Princess takes Brad under his wing and brings him back to live with them in their shared house, encouraging him to join their team. However, Brad's obvious feelings for Carter make Princess jealous and complications soon set in. Meanwhile, Latina has his own issues as he waits for his hulking boyfriend Caldwell Jones (Demarkes Dogan) to get out of jail.

The Good
The performances are excellent: Ephraim Sykes makes an engaging lead as Brad, unsure of what he wants and caught between his loyalty to the obviously smitten Princess for helping him out and his burgeoning feelings for Carter. Evelyn is particularly fabulous as Princess (nabbing all the best lines in the process) and there's genuine chemistry between Myers and Sykes. Barbie-Q delivers a genuinely moving performance as Latina and there's strong support from both Dogan and from James Alsop as kind-hearted team member Eppie Durall, who dresses like he's heavily pregnant every day.

The songs are extremely catchy (swear words are involved, so be careful you don't get caught absent-mindedly chanting ‘Knock the motherfuckers down’ afterwards) and the dance numbers are both entertaining and energetically staged, even if the voguing competition itself never really comes alive until the finale. In addition, the edgy script addresses some powerfully emotional issues, particularly during a moving funeral sequence that turns into a confrontation between parents and their children. The film is beautifully shot courtesy of Tom Camarda, whose camerawork emphasises the beautiful physicality on display.

The Bad
The only real problem with the film is that, perhaps mindful of a prohibitive rating, it shies away from showing any actual sex, despite talking (and singing) about it non-stop throughout. To that end, the film occasionally resembles Shortbus, only with the sex taken out.

Worth seeing?
This is an entertaining and emotionally engaging musical drama with superb songs, a moving script and terrific performances. Recommended.

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Content updated: 19/10/2017 23:09

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