Movie Review by Lisa Henshall
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Gabrielle Union, Jesse Bradford
Director: Peyton Reed
In order to fully appreciate this film for the excellent comedy that it is, you really need to inhabit the right ‘humour level’. If you’ve never understood shows like BUFFY or ANGEL, nor related to the hip, clever subtlety of films like TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU and DROP DEAD GORGEOUS then stop reading this review now because you won’t like this film. If on the other hand you love the sense of humour spawned in these programmes/films then you are, most definitely, on the right wave-length for BRING IT ON. I’m not trying to suggest this is the greatest comedy of all time, but its well worth a Friday or Saturday night out with your friends + huge bags of popcorn and large cartons of soft drink.
Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst on top ‘cute’ form) is the new team captain of the Toro’s cheerleading squad – 6 times winners of the National Cheerleading contest – a squad so successful that it doesn’t matter that the football team they cheer for are less than useless, because the crowds only come to see the cheerleaders anyway. When Torrance discovers that her predecessor has cheated by stealing all their previous ‘show-stopping’ routines from The Clovers – a predominantly black squad from the inner city – she’s forced to come up with a new routine to prove they can still be on top, without cheating. Meanwhile, The Clovers must gather together the necessary finance to allow them to take part in the Nationals for the first time ever and prove they’re the best at what they do.
This film is full of all the hip, knowing comedy we’ve come to expect, with one subtle joke after another cleverly woven together to keep us laughing all the way to the end. Thankfully, director Peyton Reed, ensures the subject matter isn’t taken too seriously at any point either, so overall the film is good-natured, fun and bursting with energy and the kind of characters you’d expect to find in any cheerleading squad e.g. stuck-up, shallow and appropriately catty….and that’s just the men (and yes, there are lots of sly jokes about the sexuality of the boys on the cheerleading teams, without dipping into homophobia).
Kirsten Dunst is fabulous as the enthusiastic and suitably motivating squad captain, and the part is very similar to that played by Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, but somehow Dunst manages to be more sassy and more likeable. Eliza Dushku (who plays Faith in the BUFFY series’) is also excellent as the serious gymnast who is gradually wowed by the charms of cheerleading. Gabrielle Union and the squad from The Clovers are absolutely brilliant as the more hip and streetwise team that you are really rooting for throughout. The choreography is great, the music cool, and you leave the cinema with a warm feel-good glow…..and an ache in your sides (from all the laughing).