Going in to this movie, I knew full well it was, well, a movie about cheerleading, so I wasn't expecting another American Beauty (which, now that I think of it, was partly about cheerleading, but anyway...). Suffice it to say that my expectations were low. And sure enough, Bring It On is an utterly vapid film with horrendous character development, hackneyed dialogue, and a questionable theme. No surprise there. Essentially it is Fame in short skirts.
The story revolves around an affluent San Diego high school and its crack cheerleading squad, the Toros, which are led by a girl named Torrance (Kirsten Dunst). Torrance is picked to lead the Toros to its sixth consecutive national cheerleading championship, but tragedy strikes when she learns their routines have all been stolen from an East Compton high school troupe, the Clovers, which has moves to spare. Eventually, of course, it comes down to Toros vs. Clovers in the championships.
The bulk of the film revolves around the Toros trying to come up with their own moves and hiring a choreographer, an outcast cheerleader named Missy (Eliza Dushku) who shakes things up, and a mild romance between Torrance and Missy's brother Cliff (Jesse Bradford). While I'm not sure if Bring It On's tepid, teen-friendly raunchiness is titillating or disturbing, thank god for the pair of Dushku and Bradford, who salvage this film with their anti-school-spirit tirades and actual ability to act. (On a side note: You will rack your brain to figure out where you've seen these two actors before, so here are the answers. Dushku played Schwarzenegger's daughter in True Lies. Bradford played the geeky, youngest hacker Joey in Hackers. I also hear Dushku's on some little TV show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. -Ed.)
But Kirsten Dunst? Dunst is truly one of the best young actresses working today and this is the material she has to work with? Her character comes off as an imitation of Alyson Hannigan's "Once, at band camp..." character from American Pie. Kirsten, you should not be in movies like this.
Nearing the finale of Bring It On, I began to fear that the message of Bring It On was about how affluent white teenagers, if they have enough determination, can stomp the crap out of underfunded, inner city teenagers if they put their mind to it. Fortunately, this is not the case. Bring It On is really about how a white teenage girl, if she has enough determination, can forgo everything else in her life and just focus on cheerleading, cheerleading, cheerleading. Now there's a message.
Run time: 98 mins
In Theaters: Friday 25th August 2000
Box Office USA: $67.9M
Box Office Worldwide: $90.4M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Beacon Communications
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 43
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Peyton Reed
Producer: Marc Abraham, Thomas A. Bliss
Screenwriter: Jessica Bendinger
Starring: Kirsten Dunst as Torrance Shipman, Jesse Bradford as Cliff Pantone, Huntley Ritter as Les, Eliza Dushku as Missy Pantone, Gabrielle Union as Isis, Clare Kramer as Courtney, Nicole Bilderback as Whitney, Tsianina Joelson as Darcy, Nathan West as Jan, Shamari Fears as Lava, Natina Reed as Jenelope, Brandi Williams as Lafred, Richard Hillman as Aaron, Lindsay Sloane as Big Red, Rini Bell as Kasey
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