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BRING IT ON: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
The Rancho Carne High football team suck but their esteemed Toros cheerleaders are five-time national champs. When a feisty new member (Eliza Dushku) shows team captain (Kirsten Dunst) that their routines are copied from a neighbouring all-black cheerleading team, it leads to desperate measures before the Nationals.

A film that attempted to be the perennial cheer-leading movie but failed to really razzle-dazzle, Bring It On is at least very playful with its subject matter - the rah-rah world of American high school cheerleaders. Or, as one character calls them, "dancers who have gone retarded." The Rancho Carne High football team suck but their esteemed Toros cheerleaders are five-time national champs. When a feisty new member (Eliza Dushku) shows team captain (Kirsten Dunst) that their routines are copied from a neighbouring all-black cheerleading team, it leads to desperate measures before the Nationals.

It's all a lot of pom-pom shaking really. Dunst embodies the perfect cheerleader stereotype - blonde hair, blue eyes, and bubblier than a bottle of Moet. But the debut of promising new looker Eliza Dushku (who as the cast bio reveals has a recurring role on TV's Buffy) stands out like an edgier Mena Suvari. Film buffs may place Dunst's love interest Jesse Bradford as the pre-pubescent star of Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill, or as the messenger boy in Romero and Juliet. Then there's debut director Peyton Hill, whose credits include the television version of Disney's The Love Bug.

The young cast and crew exemplify the film's spirit, and they do their damnedest to cheer for racial harmony. Its best achievement, however, is the way it successfully plays on cheerleader stereotypes while not deriding them.

Peyton's commentary, however, doesn't add much depth to the film beyond how he cast, set the music, and sent the actors to cheerleading camp. Nor does a nice montage of the cast having fun during the car-wash scene. Nor, for that matter, does the long list of deleted scenes, each introduced by Reed. It's all very fluffy, which is a pity because any film about cheerleading should take us beyond the pom-poms and short-shorts. One thing Reed does touch on in his commentary is something he neglects to explore in his film; that of male cheerleaders. Now a film about them would be something special! Instead, spotlight on location features the cast and crew talking up the dedication and skill of real cheerleaders to their sport and how much fun they had on set. Not exactly made for repeated viewing, and the DVD offers little extra enticement.
Shannon J. Harvey

Published July 26, 2001

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STARS: Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Bradford, Eliza Dushku, Gabrielle Union.

DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed

RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

DVD RELEASE: July 25, 2001

SPECIAL FEATURES
Director's commentary; Spotlight on location; Deleted scenes; Extended scenes; Wardrobe and makeup tests; Never before seen home movie of the car wash scene; Music video "As If" by Blaque; Theatrical trailer; Cast and crew bios







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