Bring It On


Directed by: Peyton Reed
Written by:Jessica Bendinger
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradforde, Gabrielle Union, Clare Kramer, Nathan West
Released: December 14, 2000
Grade: B+

If there’s been one bright spot in the 2000 cinematic year, it’s been the resurgence of dance.  In the past three months, we’ve seen Centre Stage (ballet), Bootmen (tap), Billy Elliot (ballet/tap) and now comes a different kind of dance from an unexpected source - cheerleading.  As the choreographer says, “cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarted”.

To Torrance Shipman (Dunst), cheerleading is everything.  In her final year at Rancho Carne High School, San Diego, she’s been elected captain of the school squad (known as the Toros).  Cheerleading is more than just playing second fiddle at football matches.  Every good cheerleader wants a chance to compete at the national titles and take on the best American has to offer.

The Toros are a renowned team and Torrance aspires to lead them to their 6th consecutive national title.  Things change quickly though when it is discovered the previous captain had been stealing cheers from the East Compton school in Los Angeles (known as the Clovers).  It’s either take a chance and show up with the copied routine or come up with a completely new routine in a matter of weeks.  Neither option looks particularly attractive.

Every teen film is black and white with no grey in between.  From the outset, Bring It On has spark, originality, fair and plenty of grey.  The characters are tough to gauge with emphasis going to Eliza Dushku and Jesse Bradforde (as Missy and Cliff), a brother and sister who don’t hate each other (for once) but rather show a fun, light-hearted look at such a relationship.  Other teen moulds are thrown out the window including a lack of parental interference.

Before getting carried away, Bring It On does have its fair share of corny scenes and tacky characters to keep my eyes rolling.  Still, the grand finale at the national finals was extremely well put together with the final result unknown to the very end - both teams deserved to win and I actually felt it was a shame there had to be a loser (i.e. grey area).

Everyone loves dancing - it’s the most popular form of creative expression.  Just take a look at the dance floor of a nightclub at 1am on a Saturday morning and see if people are having a good time (try to look beyond the alcohol).  There are some weird looking people with some weird looking moves but how many times have you felt yourself clicking your fingers or swinging those hips when even watching.  In a darkened movie theatre, that feeling still resonates.  So as for the future of dance on screen, given my adoration for them, I say Bring It On.