A transfer student to a rough high school tries joining the cheer-leading squad and she not only faces off against the head cheerleader, but against her former school in preparation for a cheer-off competition.
Southern California high school senior Carson arrives at the all-important "Cheer Camp Nationals" determined to lead her squad, the West High Sharks, to victory. But chic New Yorker Brooke ... See full summary »
Lina Cruz is a tough, sharp-witted Latina cheerleader from East L.A. who transfers to a posh, West Los Angeles high school after her widowed mother remarries a wealthy man and Lina not only... See full summary »
After a run-in with the law, Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) is forced to return to the world from which she fled some years ago. Enrolled in an elite gymnastics program run by the legendary Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges), Haley's rebellious attitude gives way to something that just might be called team spirit.
When Berke Landers, a popular high school basketball star, gets dumped by his life-long girlfriend, Allison, he soon begins to lose it. But with the help of his best friend Felix's sister ... See full summary »
The Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego has got spirit, spunk, sass and a killer routine that's sure to land them the national championship trophy for the sixth year in a row. But for newly-elected team captain Torrance, the Toros' road to total cheer glory takes a shady turn when she discovers that their perfectly-choreographed routines were in fact stolen from the Clovers, a hip-hop squad from East Compton, by the Toro's former captain. While the Toros scramble to come up with a new routine, the Clovers, led by squad captain Isis have their own problems - coming up with enough money to cover their travel expenses to the championships. With time running out and the pressure mounting, both captains drive their squads to the point of exhaustion: Torrance, hell bent on saving the Toros' reputation, and Isis more determined than ever to see that the Clovers finally get the recognition that they deserve. But only one team can bring home the title, so may the... Written by
"Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded," says Sparky, the modern dance-influenced choreographer who from $2000 dollars a pop teaches cheerleaders the mysteries of Fosse-inflected "happy fingers." Bring It On, which was a surprise hit in the fall of 2000, clearly believes that cheerleaders are far more than hoofers gone to seed. Despite the frequent jokes at their expense in the film, Bring It On shows cheerleaders are spirited, athletic, graceful, and most importantly, relevant to the 21st Century. Colorfully shot, attractively cast, and snappily written, Bring It On is hardly a great movie, but it's perfectly appealing for most people and I'd guess that the millions of cheerleaders and former cheerleaders nationwide will get a lot more out of it.
The plot is simple. It's like Rocky. Or Varsity Blues. Or any other sports movie you've ever seen. New captain of the five time national cheerleading champions Toros, Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) is shocked when the new girl on the squad (Eliza Dushka), a gymnast, tells her that all of the routines that made the squad famous were stolen from an inner city school in East Compton, two hours up the coast. Determined to prove that they can do it themselves, the Toros go through a fairly short journey to self-empowerment. There's a pounding bass line, lots of teens in short skirts, some fun flipping, and a lesson about being true to yourself and believing in others.
The film also takes on any number of myths about cheerleaders. Are male cheerleaders all gay, or do they just like grabbing girls' rears? The answer, of course is a little from column A and a little from Column B. Are cheerleaders all airheads? Well, the issue of whether or not these girls go to class is done away with in two minutes at the beginning of the film. From that point on, education, books, and homework are never mentioned. Any occasional signs of intelligence are held up to ridicule, though these "sweater puppets" are all quick with a witty retort, so they must have something going on upstairs. And finally, is cheerleading a sport? Well, this film comes out firmly on the side of yes.
For all of its verve, Jessica Bendinger's script is too reductive for the movie to be taken very seriously. The white girls are obviously upper scale and spoiled. Naturally the white girls don't have any sass at first and naturally they borrow it from their African-American neighbors. The black girls are supposed to be poor. Not that that's really depicted in this day-glo colored world.
In fact, through the wonders of Hollywood Central casting, the squad from East Compton actually looked even more racially homogenous than the "Buffys" from San Diego. This is an inner city high school that has a cheerleading squad featuring a dozen girls with identical light complexions and straight hair. The racial assumptions at work here would be offensive if the movie placed any premium on reality. Instead, as directed by Peyton Reed, everything is colorful, glossy, and easy on the eyes. The intricate cheerleading routines are mostly shot from strange angles or awkward close-ups to make it impossible to tell if the cast is actually doing any of the cheering stunts at all.
When Kirsten Dunst makes good small movies (see The Virgin Suicides or Dick), nobody goes to them. So I suppose it's fitting that this movie was a smash. She's always an entertaining screen presence and for now she's still young enough that it isn't ridiculous for her to keep playing high school characters. How her career progresses as she matures remains to be seen. The rest of the cast seems like they were picked from the set of a WB series. Now since I kind of like a number of WB series, I don't mean this as an insult in any way. The Warner Brothers network has proven a good training ground for attractive young women to read catchy dialogue and everybody in Bring It On seems very skilled with the zingers. And as the aforementioned Sparky the choreographer, Ian Roberts is just hilarious and his scene is easily the funniest part of the movie.
In the end, Bring It On is fairly satisfying. It's also amusing to note the strange directions that this movie is able to stretch the limits of the PG-13 rating in terms of language and certain forms of implied sexuality. But that's neither here nor there. Bring it On gets a not-to-be-ashamed-of 6/10 from me.
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