STICK IT: DVD
After a run-in at the juvenile court, rebellious 17 year old Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) is sent back to the regimented world of gymnastics, to be trained by hard-line coach Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges). When Haley walked out on her team at the world championships two years previously she was angry - at her divorced parents (Jon Gries, Gia Carides) and at the world. Haley's rebellious spirit quickly shakes things up at the strict training school - making both close friends and bitter rivals like Joanne (Vanessa Lengies). Haley discovers an unexpected ally in Burt, learning that respect is a two-way street.
Review by Louise Keller:
'If you like falling, gymnastics is the sport for you,' says Haley. There are plenty of tumbles in Stick It, although the physical ones are ultimately more successful than the emotional. With its story of personal triumph over adversity, writer director Jessica Bendiger (Bring It On) has in part differentiated the film from the normal Hollywood fare by giving it an indie feel. But the storyline is misguided in that it suggests that bad sportsmanship is to be admired, and leaves us with a bitter taste.
Slick gymnastic action sequences are good to watch, and Jeff Bridges' credible performance as controversial coach Burt Vickerman grounds the film by keeping it real. Looking like a young Hilary Swank, Missy Peregrym is impressive as the rebellious Haley, who arrives at the elite Vickerman Gymnastics Academy wearing symbolic army pants, showing she is ready to fight. Despite her natural talent, or perhaps because of it, she is sick if being judged. Judged competitively and judged personally. She speaks her mind and her actions show she does not care about the consequences. Her philosophy to not play it safe is contrary to the accepted notion of 'consistency over flash.' The rivalries between Haley and the other gymnasts are a given, and Nikki SooHoo as Wei Wei is especially endearing.
The heart of the film lies in the relationship between Burt and Haley and we soon learn there is more to both of them than first meets the eye. Mutual respect develops and Haley realises the extent of Burt's support. All leaps and handstands lead to the national championships, where the tension is sidelined to the fact that the gymnasts decide to make up their own rules to counter the judges' strict guidelines about traditional scoring. While they may make their point, their anti-sportsman actions sends the wrong message to the young target audience, while dampening our overall satisfaction.
The title is a play on words describing a correctly executed gymnast landing, as well as the slang expression displaying rebellion. It's a shame the rebellion angle is the one the filmmaker pursues.
There is a special feature on the DVd, together with theatrical trailer.
Published November 16, 2006
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STICK IT: DVD (PG)
CAST: Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, Vanessa Lengies, Nikki SooHoo, Maddy Curley, Kellan Lutz, Tarah Paige, Gia Carides
PRODUCER: Gail Lyon
DIRECTOR: Jessica Bendinger
SCRIPT: Jessica Bendinger
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daryn Okada
EDITOR: Troy Akaki
MUSIC: Missy Misdemeanor Elliot
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bruce Curtis
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 15, 2006
SPECIAL FEATURES: Feature, trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
DVD RELEASE: October 19, 2006
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.