Bring it On
Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) is on top of the world when she is named captain of the Rancho Carne High pep squad. For her cheering is not just an activity but a way of life – and Torrance’s dream has finally come true. As she prepares to lead her squad to their sixth consecutive national championship title, the dream becomes a nightmare. Torrance discovers that her predecessor stole her squad’s impressive cheer routines from the Clovers, an inner city hip-hop squad.
Torrance’s dilemma is complicated by the mutinous rumblings of disgruntled teammates, and the appearance of a new and unlikely member of the squad, Missy (Eliza Dushku), and a new student, Cliff (Jesse Bradford), a misfit to whom she is horrified to find herself attracted. With time running out, Torrance must act quickly to save the Toros’ reputation and their national title.
There are two ways of looking at this movie. It’s an energetic, witty peep into the competitive pep world of high school cheerleading. Or, it’s 99 minutes of ogling underdressed and underaged girls who behave like future tabletop dancers.
The positives: It contains witty situations, such as the innocent flirting between two high schoolers while they are brushing their teeth at a friend’s sleepover. Also very funny is the inevitable team tryout. This scene had the screening audience in stitches. The film takes a humorous approach, but does not spoof or mock its subject. And when the squad leader discovers that their previous captain had ripped-off their routines from a competitor, she faces the ethical dilemma of keeping the successful but stolen dance program, or creating a new one before the big competition in less than three weeks. The big message: Doing the right thing feels good.
The negative: The camera works so hard at ogling these young women that it makes it difficult for the male audience members not to do the same. As for the young girls in attendance, what message are they taking from this film? During that funny tryout scene, for example, one girl practically does a lap dance on one of the male judges, causing him to fall over. It plays funny, but it’s also lewd and, considering the age the girl is supposed to be, it’s sleazy. Wouldn’t you be disturbed to learn that your 16-year-old daughter was using her sexuality in such a manner?
Due to the film’s sensuality, frequent sexual crudities and numerous obscenities, we cannot recommend this one for family viewing.