Top positive review
Something for Everyone -Bring it on!
6 September 2014
Bright and beautiful Torrance [Kirsten Dunst] lives for cheerleading –it’s her world, gets made team captain of the Torros and on the first day looses one of her ‘girls’ to injury. Enter feisty new girl to school ‘Missy’ Pantone [Eliza Dushku] a gymnastics star who finds herself in a school with no gym team so reluctantly tries out for the cheerleader squad. Missy walks out on the first workout and shows Torrence the routine they are using has been stolen from The East Compton Clovers, a highly inventive black cheerleading squad from a less privileged neighbourhood. Torrence is devastated when the sassy and inspirational Isis [Gabrielle Union], leader of the Clovers, explains that the award winning routines the Torros have used to win the ‘nationals’ for the past five years have actually been stolen from them. This leads to the obvious rivalry between the two teams as Torrence fights to get her ’cheers’ into shape with new routines and works her way around the love interest in the form of Missy’ brother as she tries to lead her team to another victory.
The film opens with a ‘cheer’ soundtrack and routine with very much tongue in cheek lyrics but it turns out to be a dream. It’s a refreshing change to see a more serious or professional viewpoint on cheerleading rather than just spoilt high school ‘rich’ girls trying to show off their latest fashion accessories etc, although individuals within the team do illustrate the usual stereo types. Dunst is good as the naive captain who wants to play fair and win honestly, Dushku excels as the anti ’cheer’ gymnast who suddenly gets into it all and Union is perfect as the underdog with attitude.
The competitive nature and exuberance of cheerleading comes through at the end although one does get a sense that much of the dance routines are over the top and wouldn’t actually be allowed at National level [but what do I know?], but that’s what helps to make a good dance movie, right?. Hilarious it isn’t, but it is a witty and amiable film that is hugely enjoyable but some frank talk and mild swearing along with a few ‘adult’ gestures, tends to push this out of the youngest audience bracket making it a 12 and over rating.
The single DVD from 2000 hasn’t really dated and is just a good a watch as when it came out. The disc itself contains 8 different extras including a trailer, make up tests, extended and deleted scenes as well as directors commentary and spotlight on location, totalling some 45 minutes or so.
If you like dance movies like Step Up or Honey, then you might enjoy this but it’s not full on romance like Dirty Dancing. Worth watching just to see how good these cheerleading dance/acrobatic routines are but the final quarter as they reach the Nationals does tend to jar with the rest of the mid paced movie, it’s almost seems rather rushed as they try to wrap it up too quickly and more could have been made of the rivalry here. However still deserving a solid **** rating.