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B-/C+
Directed by Peyton Reed
Running Time: 1:37
Rated PG-13 for sex-related material and language.

I didn't go in thinking Bring It On would be winning any awards any time soon. I actually only went to see it since it appeared at the time it would be the number one movie in the country this weekend (and in fact it is). But much to my surprise it wasn't all that bad. Cheesy? Yes. Bad dialogue? Absolutely. Fun? I thought it was. It didn't take itself so seriously that it was horrible, and it took itself seriously enough that it was fun watching these kids cheerlead their little hearts out.

The plot... well the 5 time national champion cheerleaders from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego (they're the Toros) find out that all their award winning cheers were actually stolen from the cheerleaders at East Compton High (they're the Clovers). So now if they want to keep their championship dreams alive, they need to come together as a team and create their own, original cheer, and cheer like they've never cheered before. Lead by their captain Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst), the Toros make it back to the national championships, and go head to head with the Clovers to see who really is the best darn cheerleaders in the country. Yes, the plot is cheesy, but I think that was going to be a very obvious thing from the beginning. The movie is about cheerleading after all. Not that I have anything against cheerleaders (although I should note that I've never gone to a school that actually had cheerleaders), but a movie that centers around the trials and tribulations of cheerleaders is not going to have a serious and deep story. The dialogue was appropriately bad and yes, cheesy enough to make you wish that it was serious and deep. However when you have the bright, peppy and beautiful Dunst in the lead, how can you not smile and cheer right along with all of them (especially after her cover girl role in the latest Maxim magazine)?

Also along for the ride, one of my personal favorite actresses, the not-yet-but-soon-to-be-popular Eliza Dushku, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. In my book, she's right up there as far as looks go. She plays Missy, the hardened transfer student who joins the cheerleading squad only because the school doesn't have a gymnastics program. Making her start off as a bad-ass, then saying she was a gymnast didn't feel right to me. But she comes around pretty quickly and she and Torrance become fast friends. Also, since this is a teen dramedy, Torrance and her off to college boyfriend have problems, and Missy's brother Cliff is right there to help Torrance out with all her cheerleader angst. OK, so obviously the only reasons any guy would go see this movie is because either his girlfriend dragged him along, or because he wants to see a bunch of girls in cheerleader outfits, and tight clothing. And really, can you blame him? The girls are attractive, and putting them into various stages of dress, and undress, certainly can't hurt the grosses. Locker room scenes, bikini car wash scenes, and of course the cheerleading scenes were worth the price of admission for me (which of course was only $4.50, one of the perks of living in suburbia).

The soundtrack was pretty cool, and the dance/cheerleading sequences were actually quite well done. And the fact that the movie never wavered from its position that to these girls (and some guys) cheerleading was very important. To a majority of us who have never cheerleaded (cheerlead?), it's easy to say that it's not anything to get worked up about, but I look at it like if you said that to a football player in a Texas high school, you'd probably be shot on sight. Cheerleading is important to the cheerleaders, and that's what this movie was about. Cheerleading. And hot girls in cheerleading outfits. Sorry, I am a guy afterall.

So overall, yes Bring It On is cheesy with some over the top dialogue. But it also has some good music, some good cheerleading scenes, and of course, it has the girls. It's not something that is going to be heard over the microphone at next years Academy Awards, but I thought it was just good summer fun. In case you're wondering about the grade, I thought a C+ was too low, and a B- too high, so I split the difference. It might also interest you that a C+/B- was my grade point average from junior high through college. Where I had no cheerleaders. Go figure...

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We've Got Spirit:
The Life and Times of
America's Greatest Cheerleading Team

$11.65 Paperback

Soundtrack

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Text Version

reviewed 08/27/00

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