Breakdancing with the stars 

The 1980s gave birth to Reaganism, rap music’s popularity, big hair and leg warmers. Now it’s trying to kick one of its most curious anomalies — breakdancing — back into the mainstream.

In "Kickin’ It Old Skool," "Scream" grad Jamie Kennedy plays an unlucky sap who finds himself in a 20-year coma after a breakdancing move goes horribly wrong. He emerges from his slumber in the 2000s and realizes that time — and his friends — have passed him by.

"I remember in 1982, breakdancing came along and I never saw anybody do that and I thought, ‘I have to do it,’" recalls the 35-year old Kennedy. "Now, it’s still out there but it’s only out there for the hardcore purists that go to the clubs."

Not for long. Kennedy’s film, opening today, features cameos from ’80s celebs like Erik Estrada, David Hasselhoff and Emmanuel Lewis.

In a recent visit to San Francisco, the comedic actor and costars Bobby Lee ("MAD TV") and über breakdancer Casper talked about making the movie.

"It was a germ of an idea with a script that needed a complete rewrite," Kennedy says. "I had to cast within a certain amount of time and I had a crew with an unknown director. I had to get the financing. It was crazy but it all worked out."

Behind-the-scenes glitches aside, Lee says that actually learning how to breakdance was one of the most grueling things.

"I still don’t know how to do it," Lee jokes. "I went to the classes and the dude was militant and I explained to him that I never move. I’ve only run four times in my life and two of those times I was running for my life."

Lee admits he never really danced much at all before the film.

"I smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, and I went in and it was, literally, like the Paula Abdul factor. By two months I was able to do something, but then they got me a body double. They found a guy with my body."

It’s not Shakespeare, but "Kickin It Old Skool" could hold its own in a box office that doesn’t mind nursing nostalgia.

Lee says that the time period was just fruitful. "In the ’90s, you don’t have a lot. I mean, you have grunge and the birth of the Internet and the cell phone, but the ’80s, you have all this rich music and this clothing."

Kennedy agrees: "I just love my parachute pants."

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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