Bring It On

Directed by Peyton Reed
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Bradford, Eliza Dushku, Gabrielle Union.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related material and language.

Review by Matt Heffernan <>
August 28, 2000

Whenever I see a bad movie, the worst part is the moment that I realize just how bad it is. It's what I dread most as a critic, since it makes my heart sink to know that the film will mercilessly continue. For Bring It On, that moment came within the first thirty seconds after the opening credits finished.

Kirsten Dunst reaches the low point of her still-promising career as Torrance Shipman, the new head cheerleader for the Toros of Rancho Carne High School in San Diego. The squad has five consecutive national championships under their collective belt, and Torrance is determined to win a sixth. New cheerleaders are brought on, including Missy Pantone (Eliza Dushku), a tomboyish gymnast from Los Angeles who doesn't quite fit in, but Torrance recognizes her much-needed talent.

After their first practice, Missy recognizes the choreography from the East Compton Clovers, an inner-city squad that can't afford to get into the competitions. Torrance now needs to find a new routine for the squad, and manage to fall in love with Missy's brother, Cliff (Jesse Bradford).

Could a good film be made from this premise? No! Of course not! Are you insane? Could a passably mediocre film be made? Sure! Nothing stopping you! Why not? But no, Bring It On is bad -- very, very bad. Why is Dunst in it? Because she can play the part perfectly. However, the rest of the cast can't even play stupid cheerleaders. It shouldn't be that difficult, yet the film fails miserably in its acting. The best they can do is to get them all to shut up for a while and perform some silly cheers, or have a car wash scene to show off the nubile cast in skimpy bikinis, getting themselves quite wet.

The screenplay, it would seem, was created by taking the scripts from the worst high school comedies of the 1980s, then shredding them and taping the sheets back together in random order. Every imaginable cliché enters the picture, in every facet of the story. Even the slow-witted teenagers who watch this (mostly to see people like themselves on the screen) will see just how very lame it is.

An article in USA Today (thankfully not written by Mike Clark or Susan Wloszczyna) described the trailer as being "edgy" when it goes from showing the energetic cheering to the confrontation between the mostly-white squad with the mostly-black squad. By my estimation, Bring It On is about as edgy as a beach ball.

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Bring It On (2000)

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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan