Bring It On

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 1 Hour and 39 Minutes

Reviewer: Jones
Grade: B+

Movies such as this have no right being as good as this one proves to be.

Now I know what you're thinking. "Isn't this a review of "Bring It On", that lame as hell looking movie that delves into the world of cheerleading and little else?

You know what? I had the same thoughts running through my head until I decided to order the DVD one day. I don't know why I did it. When I told people what I had ordered they looked at me in such a way that I could tell they were determining whether or not I was mentally stable. I stood firm in my belief that it was going to be a sound purchase and thankfully my faith was well placed with a film that easily ranks as one of the most entertaining of 2000.

"Bring It On" takes us into a world that I have never before seen explored. It is the world of competitive high school cheerleading. Typically cheerleading is used in high school comedies for cheap laughs and nothing more. There was a whole world waiting there to be mined for a treasure trove of laughs. This film hit a vein of gold in that department delivering fresh laughs and new takes on old ideas left and right throughout.

During the opening cheer sequence in the movie (Which will make you wonder what you got yourself into before the film begins to turn on it's charm.) we are introduced to Torrance (the always adorable Kirsten Dunst) who has just been promoted to captain of her school's defending five-time national champion cheer squad. She is a real go-getter as she immediately has the members of her team attempting stunts that professionals would do a double take on. This leads to an injury to one of her key members, which leads to the inevitable cheerleader tryout sequence. This has to be the best of these sorts of sequences I have seen done in a film. The one in "The Replacements" was very good, but "Bring It On" takes it farther and manages to elicit laughter throughout. It is during these tryouts that they come across Missy (Eliza Dushku) a gymnast with no gymnastics team to try out for. Left with no other options she trys out and makes the team. Quickly she realizes that this team she is on is using stolen cheers from an inner city team that she used to cheer against. Torrance is crushed by the news, but not deterred. She begins to explore other avenues and the fun ensues.

Of course this film has it's cliches. It's a high school movie! Give it a break. Even with a few of these cliches present this film is still far more original than the majority of the other teenager comedies out there. Some of the "been there, done that" stuff you see here is the college boyfriend who is, inevitably, a piece of rank pudding. You also have the new guy in school whose presence immediately lights a fire under our favorite cheerleader's ass. These are plot elements we've come to expect from movies such as this, and they are done well enough to still have a fresh feel about them despite their dubious past in other, lesser films.

The relationship between Torrance and the new guy in town, Cliff (who just so happens to be Missy's brother) is done very well. It starts with him, being new to the school, getting introduced to the class and then delivering a lecture on the "loser sneeze" to a couple of snivelling putzes in the class. Torrance takes notice and sparks begin to fly. The scene with them brushing their teeth is beautifully done. It says so much without any dialogue being spoken. I loved every second of it!

As their relationship blossoms, the much-maligned cheer squad goes through a number of different ideas to try to rectify their hopeless situation. They even go so far as to hire a choreographer. This guy is great! He provides some of the film's biggest laughs. He's one of these hopeless fools who wanted to do Broadway shows, but now is stuck attempting to choreograph routines for high school cheer squads. He looks them over in a manner befitting of a drill sergeant and presents them with a routine that will deliver nothing but laughs.

This movie wants to do nothing more than entertain and it succeeds, practically, without fail. Director Peyton Reed (Who is responsible for behind-the-scenes documentaries for films like the "Back to the Future" trilogy and "Forrest Gump") definitely knows a thing or two about pacing. He must have taken notes while he was spending all that time around Zemeckis. If there's one thing this film doesn't have, it's a dull moment. Right when you think a point in the film is coming up when you can take care of your bladder situation, it transitions into more intriguing plot developments. I look forward to whatever Reed does next. I see big things in his future. If he take a subject such as cheerleading and make as entertaining as "Bring It On" is, I can't wait to see what he does with something that I already find fascinating.

Acting in a film like this doesn't really need to be anything special, but nobody told that to the actors in this film. Kirsten Dunst is really beginning to make a name for herself with films like this and "The Virgin Suicides" coming out in the last year. Her future appears to be very bright and it's interesting to see that she is taking parts in movies that aren't exactly the sort of thing that young actresses trying to make a name for themselves do. Eliza Dushku was also a lot of fun to see in action again. For the longest time I could not figure out where I had seen her before. Then it hit me. Arnold's daughter in "True Lies"! I always wondered what happened to her and now I guess I know. Her character is kind of like an older version of her character from "True Lies". She's a bit of a rebel who's not afraid to butt heads if necessary. She had no dance, or cheerleading experience before making this movie and you would never know it by watching the film. The rest of the cast fill in their roles nicely. Jesse Bradford pretty much rules as Missy's brother and then you've got the dude who played Chris Klein's dad in "Election" in the role of Kirsten's father. They all add nicely to the fun that this film provides frame by frame.

The only time I thought that the film got away from it's fun vibe was during the final cheerleading contest that provides your typical "ho-hum" happy ending. It's still fun, but not in the same way as the rest of the movie. On a side note it does have a cool way of handling outtakes and the closing credits that I had not seen done before.

"Bring It On" is a film that should be embraced rather than left on someone's porch like an unwanted baby. It simply exists as a good time found where one never thought a fun time could exist. It contains more than enough fun to be ranked high on my list of the most entertaining films of 2000.

If you're still not convinced then maybe this will help. Kirsten Dunst gets naked. What? You don't believe me? She does. Trust me. Granted you can't see anything, but she does get naked. Oh come on now! Do you think I would give anything less than an "A" to a film in which she showed off her goods? I am disappointed in you. Honestly though, you do get to see a bunch of young women run around in either their underwear or cheerleading outfits for the majority of the film.

That should be enough to make your imagination put in some overtime.