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BRING IT ON

SYNOPSIS:
Rancho Carne High School’s football team is well and truly used to losing but its cheerleading squad, The Toros, are aiming up for a sixth straight cheerleading championship. Newly-elected team captain Torrance (Kirsten Dunce) is full of cheerful confidence until she realises their choreography has been stolen from The Clovers, a hip-hop cheer squad from East Compton. Torrance battles her conscience and the rebellious independence of new recruit Missy (Eliza Dushku), while The Clovers captain Isis (Gabrielle Union) tackles a more fundamental problem: how to raise the necessary funds to make it to the finals.

"Easily the most memorable thing in Bring It On is the punchy opening dance number, where a group of cheerleaders in skimpy red outfits prance round a high school gym chanting 'I'm sexy! I'm cute! I'm popular to boot!' and a little later 'I swear I'm not a whore!' The screen fairly drips with contempt for these bimbos and what they represent - it's as if male filmmakers go to Hollywood to take revenge on all the girls who turned them down in high school. A comparable resentment of 'popular' girls and women is a subtext of many recent Hollywood comedies (including the overrated American Beauty); directed by a man but scripted by a woman, Bring It On both exploits this misogyny and tries half-heartedly to get beyond it. After a string of jokes about cheerleaders as bitchy sluts, we're finally asked to accept that competitive cheering can be taken seriously as a sport - even a post-Spice-Girls example of Girl Power. It's not a bad premise, promising a moderately novel and diverting blend of teen movie, sports movie and musical. But the filmmaking is relentlessly standardised, with its uniform bright lighting and TV-scaled performances, and the arch script suffers from the Dawson's Creek disease of mistaking self-consciousness for wit. I can't remember a single genuinely clever line out of all the third-generation parodies of valley-girl slang ('How vintage'), unlikely idioms ('She's the poo, so take a big whiff')or flowery verbosity ('Bring on the tired neophytes and the dilettanti'). When the hero asks his sister why she's participating in a bikini carwash, she explains she's making money by 'letting boys ogle my goodies.' He draws back in horror: 'I didn't need to know that! That was an over-share!' The moral appears to be: if you want to succeed as a screenwriter in Hollywood, never compromise yourself by writing anything that a real person might actually say..."
Jake Wilson

"‘D-U-M-B celebrate stupidity/We won’t try and rack your brain/We’re only here to entertain.’ – there we go, another entry for my writer’s resume. I’ve now composed my first cheer. And, if I don’t say so myself, what a succinct summation of this formulaic farce it is. A bevy of buxom sophomores (or is it semaphores?) – their bodies wrapped in tight cheerleader outfits and their countenances locked to bimbo mode – sets a cynical critic’s alarm bells wringing for some bottom of the barrel cinematic sludge. But just to prove I’m more flexible than a stereotyped cheerleader’s intellect, I found this self-deprecating nonsense a rung or three above its potential cinematic station. There’s no champagne comedic drama here, not an inkling of imagination in the plot, and not a semblance of genuine character development, but I did find it funny and even witty in a non-sophisticated way. There’s a twist of pom-pom proportions at the tail of every cliché and a self-awareness of the general stupidity that adds some entertaining satire (of sorts). Even the cheer routines are a revelation for the uninitiated, such as myself, who may not realise that their modern incarnation goes way beyond a bit of supportive thrust and wiggle. Kirsten Dunst is appropriately sexy and superficial in equal measures, and Eliza Dushku absolutely convincing as the rebel without a cue. Not exactly a winner, but cheery enough entertainment."
Brad Green

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

BRING IT ON (M)
(US)

CAST: Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford, Gabrielle Union, Clare Kramer

DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed

PRODUCER: Marc Abraham, Thomas A. Bliss, John Ketcham

SCRIPT: Jessica Bendinger

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Shawn Maurer

EDITOR: Larry Bock

MUSIC: Christophe Beck

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sharon Lomofsky

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 14, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Ent

VIDEO SELLTHROUGH RELEASE: July 25, 3001







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