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Photographer David LaChapelle, best known for audacious celebrity portraits, makes his feature debut with this emotionally charged but not entirely honest documentary about radical hip-hop dance in LA's South Central. “Clowning,” pioneered by birthday clown Tommy Johnson after the 1992 riots, is a frantic form whose dancers paint their faces; “krumping” is a more violent, bluntly sexual version performed without makeup. Both seem fueled by desperation over the community's crushing crime and poverty, but LaChapelle—a white southerner who apprenticed with Andy Warhol at Interview—never cops to his outsider status, and his up-with-people message doesn't wash. There are plenty of wrenching scenes, including a funeral for a 15-year-old victim of gang cross fire; the mourners deliver the inevitable rendition of “Amazing Grace,” but it's never sounded so hollow. PG-13, 84 min.

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