Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. 75
    Above all, this is a movie where the characters ask the same questions we do: They're as smart about themselves as we are.
  2. 75
    Sure, you've seen some of these moves before, but Save the Last Dance triumphantly passes the audition.
  3. Reviewed by: Gemma Files
    70
    Breaks virtually no new narrative ground, yet treads the familiar territory it does cover with grace, style, wit and fun.
  4. The story comes full circle in a way that might seem overly schematic did it not have the courage to wear its heart on its sleeve without losing its head.
  5. This is a spirited, dirty dance between the polished inauthenticity of Hollywood romance-musicals and hip-hop's central tenet: keeping it real. It's an intriguing combination, if nothing else.
  6. 63
    All in all it's a decent, well-put-together romantic drama to hold hands to on the weekend.
  7. While it flirts with "After School Special"-ness, at least has the courage to address racial and cultural cliches with a degree of honesty.
  8. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    63
    The most traditional of Hollywood romances, in that it's resolutely about nice people with nice problems.
  9. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    60
    It's pretty good, really.
  10. 60
    Carter can't sidestep the script's cliches, so he wisely cuts to the fancy footwork whenever possible.
  11. 60
    This sweet-tempered retelling of "Romeo and Juliet," which substitutes uplift for tragedy, gives off enough energy and light that the audience wants to believe in it even if society's impacted prejudices continue to say otherwise.
  12. It's about as routine a movie as they come, but it features plenty of endorphin-releasing hip-hop choreography as Derek teaches Sara to get jiggy with it.
  13. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    50
    The result is more like an epic "After School Special" -- preachy, runny and oddly warm.
  14. 50
    Thomas' easygoing warmth helps to melt Stiles' icy veneer, and one of Dance's few pleasures is an extended musical segment where she tries to ape his homeboy posturings.
  15. 50
    An utterly formulaic, teen-oriented romance whose greatest asset is charming leads Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas.
  16. 50
    For all its dumb clichés it offers the basic appeal of teen movies: the pleasure of watching kids be kids, acting as they do among themselves instead of how parents and teachers expect them to act.
  17. 50
    The disjointed plotting and afterschool-special dialogue offer scant opportunity for the charismatic leading duo to work up much chemistry.
  18. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    50
    Grounded in bedrock formula and earnestness.
  19. This teenage interracial romance runs hot and cold, sweet and silly, with many more fits than starts.
  20. 50
    Takes its cues from the musical dramas of the '70s, but this otherwise engaging young-adult romance never quite catches Saturday night fever.
  21. This wan, formulaic teen movie from ''Metro'' director Thomas Carter is afraid to pump up the volume on its own interracial, hip hop Romeo and Juliet story, lest it challenge even one sedated viewer or disturb the peace.
  22. 42
    Filled with too many issues -- along with young motherhood, street gangs, city life, sex, peer pressure, grief and, oh yes, dancing, which is nearly lost in so many poorly written subplots.
  23. 38
    Recycles every cliché of the genre to sleep-inducing effect.

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