2 - 4 - 6 - 8, Bring It On is super great

Dunst sparkles in cheery teen flick

Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) and Missy (Eliza Dushku) ‘bring it on’ for the Rancho Carne Toros.
Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) and Missy (Eliza Dushku) ‘bring it on’ for the Rancho Carne Toros.

You might expect this review to start with some witty re-creation of a cheer that will slyly criticize the latest teen flick, Bring It On. But, the only cheers about this Kirsten Dunst vehicle that you will find in this space will be upbeat and positive.

In a summer when the multiplexes were swamped with big-time movies geared almost exclusively towards people in the early twenties and younger, Bring It On ranks alongside Road Trip as the summer’s most enjoyable fare.

With a topic that had the potential to be cloying and that is usually portrayed as empty-headed, screenwriter Jessica Bendinger and director Peyton Reed managed to create a scenario and characters that made you interested in the Rancho Carne Toros and the West Compton Clovers, two rival cheerleading squads.

After a dream sequence which provides the film’s most humourous moment, Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) assumes the captain’s position for the 5-time National Champion Toros. Among the dilemmas she encounters are the replacement of an injured team-mate with brash outsider Missy (Eliza Dushku).

Missy flips the Toros world upside down when she explains that Big Red, the old captain, had lifted their award-winning routines from the inner city Clovers. With that, the rivalry is set in motion.

Mercifully, the racial tension in the film is not exploited by cheap stereotypes nor tasteless jokes. Instead, the class issues merely underlie the impending cheerleading duel.

Missy’s brother Cliff (Jesse Bradford) throws Torrance’s personal life for a loop. Bradford delights Dunst’s character and the audience with an original and cheery take on the overdone role of unlikely love interest.

The understated scene that has Bradford and Dunst brushing their teeth side by side is the best in Bring It On; if only because it demonstrates the surprising flexibility of a film that can go from romance to comedy to high-flying acrobatics without missing a step.

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