Picks and Pans Review: Stepping Out

updated 11/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

Liza Minnelli, Shelley Winters

Here is the whole point of going to this eminently predictable movie: to watch Minnelli sing and dance. It takes approximately 98 minutes to get to the point, and getting there is not half the fun.

Minnelli (in a surprisingly subdued and thus pleasant performance) plays Mavis Turner, a former Broadway chorine who wistfully remembers touching the sleeve of Bob Fosse. Since those glory days, she has shuffled off to Buffalo to teach tap in a church basement for 10 bucks a class and occasionally to sing in local clubs. Invited by the haughty head of the performing ails center to have her class participate in a benefit performance, Mavis is galvanized into action. "I want to show that dame how terrific you are," she tells her pupils.

Terrific they are not. While a few can trip the light fantastic, the others among them—abused wife Andy (Sheila McCarthy) and divorced milquetoast Geoffrey (Bill Irwin)—tend more just to trip.

"Remember the three T's: taps, teeth and tits," Mavis enjoins her students as they try to sort out the dance steps—and their lives. Stepping Out, in its determination to make dance a metaphor for life, is little more than a cut-rate Chorus Line. (PG)

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