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Bring It On: Could Use a Shower Scene or Two, Movie Review by Spyder Darling

 Bring It On
Kirsten Dunst as Torrence Shipman
Bring It On is a Diet Coke-fuelled comedy that brings its audience into the cutthroat world of competitive cheerleading. The picture stars a bevy of bellybutton-cute actresses, most notably Kirsten Dunst (Virgin Suicides, Interview with a Vampire), who brings more pep than a box of No-Doz to her role as Torrance Shipman, the spunky new head cheerleader of Rancho Carne High School. Torrance has inherited a catty co-ed squad of national champion cheer-persons whose quest for a sixth straight title is sidelined when it's discovered that the team's last captain stole the Toro's trophy winning routines from the Clovers, an inner city squad from East Compton, LA.

The Clovers, lead by ice-blooded captain Isis (Gabrielle "She's All That" Union) are so tough, in another galaxy, they could cheer for Klingons on "Star Trek Generation 90215." When the Toro's terrible secret of stolen stunts is exposed during yet another trouncing of Rancho Carne's futile football team, Capt. Kirsten and her Lolita-like Lieutenants are faced with the challenge of their cheerleading lives. They must learn a new (preferably original) routine of splits, twirls and tricks that will rival the Clover's kick-ass choreography and have it ready in time for the national championships, which are coming up faster than extra desserts at a bulimic banquet. Theatergoers haven't felt this much tension at a movie since Varsity Blues way back in 1999. Maybe even longer.

Like most of this summer's movies, with the exception of Cecil B. Demented which clocked in at a tidy 89 minutes, Bring It On runs about twenty minutes longer than it needs to. For the first hour and a half, though, director Peyton Reed does make this an entertaining behind-the-pom-poms look at an obsessive and competitive subculture that's as American as apple pie and insider trading. Peyton also puts in a kooky cameo as Sparky Polastri, a drill sergeant choreographer for hire who has been peddling the same sparkle-fingered routine up and down the west coast in blatant violation of the official National Federation of Cheerleading guidelines. Somebody call the FBI!

The cast – Eliza Dushku, in particular, as Missy, the slacker cheerleader with temporary tattoos – are all in great shape and do their bitching best to convey their characters' commitment to their "Cheerocracy." But finally, it's only cheerleading being talked about here, a sport yet to make it past ESPN2 in national popularity. Eventually, most adults in the crowd will be wishing the girls would call it a day, hit the showers, bring on the closing credits and maybe hit the showers again.

August 2000

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