17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Rah, Rah, Rah!,
This review is from: Bring It on [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A surprise hit whose profit substantially elapsed its $10 million budget, "Bring It On" boasted little and earned a lot. Awash with several unknown faces and a few familiar ones, it attained delighted reviews from critics and audiences alike and already has a Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy (Kirsten Dunst). Who knew that a story about cheerleading would've produced such fascination among the young American populace?
The bubble-gummy tale starts with the torch being passed from former captain Big Red to squeaky-clean senior Torrance Shipman (Dunst), instating the beginning of her reign as the head of her cheerleading squad at Rancho Carne High School. The very first day she is instructing the Toros, a squad member breaks half the limbs in her body and is off the team. Since she is a woman short of a Toro entourage, Torrance holds auditions to fill the vacancy and it is here that she meets tough-talking gymnast Missy Pantone (Dushku). Despite the discrepancy from fellow Toros Courtney and Whitney (great duo of airheads), Torrance decides to recruit her and tracks Missy down to her residence to convince her that being a cheerleader is a lot more than just screaming at aloof patrons from the sidelines - it's a whole different perspective. Once Missy is drafted, the Toros begin their first practice but they receive a dismayed reaction from their new member. Baffled by why she is so displeased with their routine, Torrance demands answers and Missy shows her the ugly truth - every cheer the Toros have won their championships with is stolen material. The mountain of trophies they possess really belongs to an inner-city squad called the East Compton Clovers and they are one...-off bunch of broads. Many an opportunity to be discovered has been taken from them thanks to Big Red's faithful filching and now the Clovers have a new captain - she's the most intolerant of them all. With the National Championship just around the corner, Torrance is rapt with the task of composing a completely new routine and by her college boyfriend's recommendation hires a patronizing and insulting choreographer named Sparky. Three weeks later, they are humiliated at a competition when they discover Sparky's routine has also been given to six other competing squads. Upon that debasing experience, Torrance is immediately geared for some rigorous labor and the Toros embark on the creation of a cheerleading oeuvre that they can truly call their own.
This is director Peyton Reed's first major directing debut as he has done mostly TV work in his career. His few projects consist of Comedy Central's "Upright Citizens Brigade" and a string of short-lived shows. Reed may be a novice but there is considerable experience in his female-dominated cast. Kirsten Dunst is an actress who has significantly grown over the years, not only physically but also career-wise. She was impressive as the doll-like Claudia in "Interview With The Vampire" and has furthered impressed in recent flicks such as "The Virgin Suicides" and "Drop Dead Gorgeous". She is beautiful and bankable and will be around for a long time. Up and comers include the striking Eliza Dushku (an inductee of E! Online's renowned "Sizzlin' Sixteen" list), her big break as Arnold Schwarzenegger's rebellious daughter in "True Lies" and Gabrielle Union as Isis, the Clover's strong-headed captain. There is a delectable performance from Jesse Bradford as Cliff, Missy's brother and Torrance's love interest. Even Cody McMains is wickedly entertaining as Torrance's obnoxious little brother Justin.
Jessica Bendinger's screenplay is surprisingly clever and mature for a movie about something as trifling as competitive cheerleading and the majority of her characters are witty and engaging. There are a lot of cute quips here and there, a good example being when an opposing team at a late night football game lifts their skirts to reveal the spiteful phrase "You suck" emblazoned on their tushes. Not one to back down, the Toros smartly retort with, "That's all right/that's okay/you're gonna pump our gas someday!" And who can forget the hilarious reference to Wanda Holloway, the Texas cheerleader-murdering mom who was immortalized in a made-for-TV movie starring Holly Hunter.
On the whole, "Bring It On" is a highly enjoyable romp into the superficiality of a high school extramural and it brings out the best in every one of its players. Be prepared to "cheer" for joy on finding such an elusive gem of a film.