Roll Bounce

"OK"

Roll Bounce Review


If the roller-disco nostalgia comedy "Roll Bounce" didn't have Malcolm D. Lee in the director's chair, it would be downright unwatchable.

Built on a sloppy, fill-in-the-blanks plot, it follows a group of rollerskate-crazy 1970s teens from Chicago's tough South Side as they're forced to migrate to trendy North Side roller disco because their run-down local rink has been shuttered. This leads inevitably to a into a rivalry with hot-shot locals and a "skate-off" finale, and the story couldn't be more stale if the script itself were a dusted-off relic from the Jimmy Carter era.

But Lee has a gift for finding gold nuggets of personality and comedy in the tailings of over-mined plots. He turned 1999's contrived reunion/wedding flick "The Best Man" into a character-rich dramedy and exploited the stupidity of 2002's "Undercover Brother" for great laughs. In "Roll Bounce," he makes up for the shopworn, thoroughly predictable source material by punching up the comedy and hiring talented young stars to flesh out the stock characters.

Maturing kiddie hip-hopper Bow Wow -- whose dazzling charm also helped the childrens' basketball flick "Like Mike" rise above its script -- plays Xavier ("X" to his friends), the teenage rollerskating protagonist from the wrong side of the tracks. His buddies include Rick Gonzales ("The Rookie," "Coach Carter"), Khleo Thomas ("Holes," "Baadasssss!"), and gal-pal Jurnee Smollett ("Eve's Bayou"), each of whom provides genuine individuality and friendly smack-down humor in these supporting roles.

The movie is actually at its best away from the roller rink, when Lee can focus on the comedy that comes from these personalities, even as the elementary plot clunks along in telegraphed fits and starts about friendships and family struggles (Chi McBride is superb as his unemployed, recently widowed father). But X's rivalry with a ridiculous, arrogant, one-dimensional disco king nicknamed Sweetness (Wesley Jonathan) -- who comes complete with an entourage of fawning bimbos and sequin-attired toadies -- inevitably leads to a well-shot but rather anti-climactic showdown during a $500 contest to crown a king of the uptown rink.

And, of course, there's a love interest -- jawdroppingly gorgeous Meagan Good ("Eve's Bayou," "Biker Boyz"), who at age 23 is conspicuously older than teenaged Bow Wow.

While also overly self-indulgent at 112 minutes, "Roll Bounce" rises above its considerable flaws not just with likable characters and an amusing quick wit, but also through Lee's visceral sense of period nostalgia. Fueled by great skating, a great funk soundtrack, horrible clothes, and big afros, Lee plies the picture with flashback-educing touches of authenticity, like curfews that begin when the streetlights come on, AM/FM radio headsets with retractable antennae extending from each cumbersome earphone, and energetic split-screen dance sequences.

So while "Roll Bounce" may have one of the most shopworn, cliché-riddled, minimal-effort scripts of 2005, the end result is an entertaining Saturday matinee that's hard not to like.



Roll Bounce

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd September 2005

Production compaines: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Bernard, as Xavier 'X' Smith, as Curtis Smith, as Naomi Phillips, as Junior, as Byron, as Troy, as Sweetness, Marcus T. Paulk as Boo, as Naps, as Tori, as Mixed Mike, as Vivian, as Victor

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.