THE CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Vicki Edwards (Chicago Tribune), Bob Longino (Cox News Service), Peter Stack (San Francisco Chronicle), Caitlin Cleary (Seattle Times), Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly), Ron Wells (filmthreat.com), Rob Blackwelder (splicedonline.com), Kent Osborne & Chris Gore (“The New Movie Show with Chris Gore) Richard Roeper & Roger Ebert (“Roger Ebert & The Movies”) and Tom Sander (Sun-Sentinel).
* * * out of 4 stars (PG-13)
“Bring It On” is one fun flick! In fact, I believe this is the best cheerleader film ever made. A few movie critics who watched “Bring It On” would rather turn it off, though. Regardless, the cheers are loud and clear – especially in the film’s opening dream sequence:
“I jump! You can look but don’t you hump. I’m major. I roar. I swear I’m not a whore. We cheer as we lead. We act like we’re on speed. Hate us ’cause we’re beautiful–but we don’t like you either. We’re cheerleaders! We are cheerleaders!”
“Bring It On” is about a cheerleading squad called the Toros from Rancho Carne High School. The team’s new captain, Torrance (Kirsten Dunst), discovers their former captain stole all their winning routines from the Clovers, a rival hip-hop squad from East Compton. Torrance has only a few weeks to save the Toros reputation and the national championship trophy they’ve had for six years.
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) said the movie is “another example of the most depressing trend of the summer of 2000, the cynical attempt by Hollywood to cram R-rated material into PG-13-rated movies.”
Ebert made valid points considering the movie’s crude jokes and implied sexual remarks and situations. But the problem with Ebert’s column is that he reviewed the rating of the film more than the film itself. This was less a movie review and more an opinion piece fit for editorial page of a newspaper.
Vicki Edwards (Chicago Tribune) said, “The film is also absurdly unrealistic at times. Dunst is the captain of a cheerleading squad that travels to regional and nationals, yet no faculty advisor is ever seen.”
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, Vicki! This is a pom-pom popcorn flick, not ESPN. I’m sure Mr. Ebert would approve of a faculty advisor, but this film does not take itself serious – which is why the movie works.
Bob Longino (Cox News Service) said, “Pretty much all the jokes fall flat. Actually, the funniest bit involves projectile vomiting. And what does that say about this movie?” The real question, Bob, is what does this say about you? In reality, the funniest moments are when the Toros hire a choreographer named Sparky (Ian Roberts), a Bob Fosse-wannabe who is crazy, abrasive and simply hilarious. Sparky says, “Cheerleaders are just dancers gone retarded.” Funny stuff!
Peter Stack (San Francisco Chronicle) complains, “There’s nothing terribly wrong with ‘Bring It On’ other than its jumbled and stupid plot, bad acting and a few predictable gags that fall flat.” The plot did work, Peter, because the acting was good. Kirsten Dunst was amazing!
Caitlin Cleary (Seattle Times) got it right: “The acting in ‘Bring It On’ is OK, but Kirsten Dunst is the standout. Her Torrance is so likable; she can pick her nose and still look cute.”
Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly) adds, “She gets to show some spunk here — maybe too much — but it’s her mixture of delicacy and vivacity that holds the picture together.”
Kirsten Dunst is the epitome of teen spunk in this movie. Regardless of the film’s shortcomings, Dunst carried it all through. Ron Wells (filmthreat.com) said, “The attitude and the chicks were enough to distract me.”
One of the best scenes in the movie has no dialogue whatsoever. Torrance stays over night at Missy’s (Eliza Dushku). She’s attracted to Missy’s brother, Cliff (Jesse Bradford), and they both stand next to each other in the bathroom and brush their teeth – a cute flirtatious scene.
Rob Blackwelder (splicedonline.com) said, “There’s more spark, charisma and chemistry in that cute, simple 60 seconds than in a dozen Freddie Prinze, Jr. movies.”
“The New Movie Show with Chris Gore” (FX Channel) and “Roger Ebert & The Movies” (Buena Vista TV) both had positive and negative reviews. Kent Osborne (TBS Movie Lounge) said to all the panelists on Gore’s show: “I don’t know why you guys are praising this movie so much. It doesn’t know what it wants to be.” I’ll tell you why, Kent. Because this movie isn’t trying to be anything but fun! C’mon, dude. Get some team spirit!
Chris Gore got it right: “It was a lot of fun like the original ‘Grease’ was fun. It was that spunky teen spirit that really sucked me in.”
Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times) said on Ebert’s show, “I liked it a lot!” Ebert concluded, “The movie goes soft, sentimental and fuzzy – and ends up with a messy plot limping toward a tacked on happy ending that gets from me – thumbs down.”
Wait a minute. Ebert complains in his written review (or editorial column) that this movie is not fit for kids, and then whines on his TV show it is too soft, sentimental and fuzzy? I’m going critic crazy this week folks! This makes no sense at all.
Tom Sander (Sun-Sentinel) summed the movie up best: “Like a top cheerleader, ‘Bring It On’ will keep your eyes glued, your hands clapping and your spirits up.”
“Bring It On” is a three star cheerleader movie that you don’t want to miss. All this teen spunk is contagious and it even inspired me to write my own cheer. I dedicate this to all movie critics:
“I watch! I read. I examine movie critics. I write. I’m quick. ‘Cause often times they’re sick. They think they are right. But we all know they’re wrong. When ‘under the weather,’ I will make them better. I’m the Doctor! I am the Critic Doctor!”
Posted on September 9, 2000 in Features by Herb Kane
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- IS LOSER THE UNDERDOG?
- SHOULD HOLLOW MAN DISAPPEAR?
- BRING IT ON
- EBERTFEST: THUMBAPALOOZA 2003
- THUMBATHON: EBERT’S OVERLOOKED FILM FESTIVAL (part 7)
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