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TAP. Directed and written by Nick Castle; produced by Gary Adelson and Richard Vane for Tri-Star. Starring Gregory Hines, Suzzanne Douglas and Sammy Davis, Jr. Rated PG-13.


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Tap is a lot like an old-fashioned musical. It features a predictable, unexceptional storyline that's redeemed by sincere performances and a lot of good dancing.

Special treats for musical fans include cameos by some aging but energetic tap-dancing greats and an introduction to the next generation, represented by 14-year-old tap prodigy Savion Glover.

Hines is the star of the show, though, and he carries the responsibility well. He's an attractive and talented actor as well as an excellent dancer and he really gets to show it all off in Tap.

His character is Max, an ex-convict who is tempted both by his former career of cat-burglary and his family roots in tap-dancing. It takes him a while, but he eventually makes the decision we always knew he would, and goes straight.

A good woman (Douglas), a kid (Glover) and a wise mentor (Davis) help him out, just like in hundreds of old musicals.

There's another angle that makes Tap more interesting than a lot of the B-movies it resembles. The subplot sort of tells the history of tap-dancing through its heyday and up to the present.

Viewers who can't stomach movie characters bursting into song (or dance) at the drop of a hat will certainly want to skip Tap, since its dancing is really the best thing going for it.

Those who miss those old-time musicals, though, won't want to miss it. Were it not for a sex scene that shows more skin than is really necessary, I'd recommend it for the kids, too.

February 15, 1989

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