Released in 2011, Go For It! is one of those films that can be summed up by its title.
“Go for it!” That’s what the world is saying to Carmen Salgado (Aimee Garcia). “Go for it!” Stop accepting that you’re never going to get anywhere in life. Don’t just settle for working in a grocery store with your best friend, Gina (Gina Rodriguez). Don’t just live at home with your bickering family. Don’t just dance in underground clubs. Go for it! Get a new job. Move in with Jared (Derrick Denicola). Drop out of community college. AUDITION FOR DANCE SCHOOL! Go for it!
I’m not going to talk too much about the plot of this film because it’s not necessary. You already know everything that’s going to happen in Go For It! If you’ve ever seen any film about a young dancer pursuing her dreams and trying to find the courage to audition for dance school, you know exactly what’s going to happen in Go For It! The plot is just as generic as the name.
Myself, I always wonder if anyone has ever made a movie called Give Up! You want a better job? Give up! You want a rich boyfriend? Give up! You want to go to dance school? Give up! You want to grab your dreams? GIVE UP! I don’t think it’s ever been done but, to be honest, would anyone want to see a movie called Give Up!? I mean, seriously — it might sound like a funny or subversive idea but I think the joke would get old after the first 20 minutes or so. Watching people give up is not fun and that’s the appeal of a movie like Go For It! There’s no cynicism to be found in Go For It!
Actually, to be honest, the film could have used a little cynicism. As it is, it’s so predictable that it’s kind difficult to get involved in the story. Aimee Garcia gives a likable performance as Carmen and some of the dance scenes are fun to watch but the lack of surprises makes it hard to really get invested in her story. It’s like if I tell you that I was trying to drive to your house but I had to stop at a red light. I mean, yes, for that moment, I was no longer heading towards your house. My journey to my destination hit a snag. But you know that the light eventually turned green so it’s not like there’s a whole lot of surprises or drama in that story.
Gina Rodriguez only has a supporting role in this film but she does most of the dramatic heavy-lifting. She has an abusive boyfriend and Rodriguez does a good job with the role. Her character’s story could have made for a compelling film but, unfortunately, the film’s only interested in using her as a motivation for Carmen to try to do something with her life. In the end, it feels an interesting character and plot was wasted.
When Go For It! was first released, some posters encouraged viewers to “Follow your own beat,” which is a good message even if it’s also the message of almost every film made nowadays. Another poster said — and I kid you not — “You don’t have to be the best.” To me, that’s a terrible message. You don’t have to be the best? Then why even try? You might as well just tell people to give up.