Bring It On
Shamelessness is pretty much a given in teen sex comedies, but the ads for Bring It On establish a new low, trumpeting both consumer-research results and an abundance of scantily clad teens, a creepy tactic for a film rated PG-13. Mindlessly perky but little more, Bring It On fully lives up—or down, as the case may be—to the cynical stupidity of its ads, combining sex-comedy clichés and sports-movie clichés with the subtlety and wit of a zit-cream ad. A psychotically perky Kirsten Dunst stars as an alpha-cheerleader who faces a crisis when a member of her squad incurs a season-ending injury, necessitating an obligatory wacky-misfits audition scene. Dunst chooses surly renegade Eliza Dushku (TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer), but when offered the spot, Dushku hastily declines—despite having auditioned a few scenes earlier—until convinced by Dunst that cheerleading is about, you know, athleticism and competition and stuff. Dunst, meanwhile, becomes attracted to Dushku's semi-hunky brother, whose Clash T-shirt and propensity for book-learning establishes him as a rebellious outsider. Amid all the T&A a PG-13 film can allow, including a gratuitous bikini car-wash scene, is a potentially intriguing subplot about Dunst's predecessor stealing routines from a team of inner-city black cheerleaders. Naturally, this development is handled in the safest, dullest fashion imaginable. All that saves Bring It On from total worthlessness is a hilarious cameo by Upright Citizens Brigade's Ian Roberts as a sadistic cheerleading choreographer who derides his charges as "sweater monkeys" and eloquently defines cheerleaders as "dancers gone retarded." It's a savagely satirical moment of truth in a film that's otherwise as vapid as the cheerleading world it mindlessly celebrates.