“She’s All That”, “Boys & Girls”, “Idle Hands” – In this post-Scream era, most of the recent efforts in the teen movie genre read like a who’s who of horrid movies. Only on rare occasions has someone gotten it right with superb films like “Cruel Intentions”, “Wild Things”, “Go”.
In all those cases though they’ve been R-rated fare, the PG-13 rated “Bring It On” however is the first exception of the group. Its very mainstream, predictable as hell and the story isn’t that original. On the other side its quite funny throughout its entire runtime, has a fast pace which keeps everything fresh, and never once bogs itself down in sentimentality. Its a wide-appealing comedy that actually sparks with intelligence, snazzy dance/show numbers, great characters and biting humour.
Kirsten Dunst gives over her usual happy faced innocence performance which mixes well with Dushku’s street-wise cynical sensibilities. Dushku has always been great on “Buffy” and this shows that presence she has carries over onto the big screen very well. One really well-handled sub-plot is the romance between Dunst and Dushku’s brother (Jesse Bradford) which is more flirting than anything else and never drags down the plot or pacing once.
The rival team is introduced in a clever way that’s essential to the whole story and provide good ‘villains’ of the piece as such (the rivalry issue is never taken too seriously). The rest of the members on the team are done perfectly such as the bitter ex-leader, the macho jock in the team to get some ‘action’, the openly gay nice guy, the bitchy wannabe leaders, and so forth. There’s a brief flirtation with the racial issue but its more of a ‘obligated to mention it’ style deal thus its only brought up in one line in one scene throughout the whole film and left kind of up in the air.
The films two biggest strongpoints are its humour and dances though. The jokes are funny, very funny in fact ranging from Dunst’s annoying little brother through to a dance choreographer with some of the best put down lines on film. The gags come flying thick and fast and never get gratuitous or negative. Then there is the dance sequences which are quite spectacular, filled with lots of people-twirling stunts that you wouldn’t expect to see outside of Cirque De Soleil.
So are there any downsides? Its too short is the only one I can really think of but the aforementioned predictability is probably the major fault. In short this is not only one of the best examples of the teen film genre, but also sees its PG-13 rating as a benefit rather than a curse and thus manages to appeal to everyone whilst still keeping fresh, edgy and original. Great fun!!!