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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.42%
Worth A Look: 18.42%
Average: 11.84%
Pretty Bad30.26%
Total Crap: 21.05%

8 reviews, 28 user ratings

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Stick It
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by William Goss

"More Posing Than A Season of Project Runway!"
2 stars

At a young age, if you were ever regularly engaged in social circumstances, particularly school, chances are you can grasp the concept of the poser, a conformist who desperately attempts to appeal to a select group despite the fact that they just don’t belong there. Jessica Bendinger may have warmed up to the cheerleaders with her snappy screenplay for 'Bring It On,' but her effort to infiltrate the realm of gymnastics by writing and directing 'Stick It' falls flat on its face, opening with a faux-punk façade that she never sheds and driven home by the fact that her broad cracks simply aren’t that funny. Sorry, Miss Bendinger, but you aren’t fooling anyone, and if there weren’t so many parents around, I would tell you exactly where to stick your schtick.

After opening credits done as graffiti (because that’s SO cool!), our heroine and her pals are doing an exceedingly elaborate and rather ridiculous series of stunts on bike and board, culminating with an act of unintentional vandalism. Resident rebel Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) has a habit of flirting with law enforcement, and this time, it’s either military academy or gymnastics academy. Despite her objections, the judge makes up Haley’s mind for her and off she goes to the Vickerman Gymnastics Academy, where she abandoned her team years earlier and cost them the championships (her motives for this are rather weak). Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges) seems intent of coaching Haley to his fullest extent, regardless of resentment, and sure enough, even when facing constant hostility from Joanne (Vanessa Lengies), she decides that she’s in it to win it once more, bringing her own radical style to the routines.

For every clever concept (Haley introduces her foes by injury: Burt suffers from a sprained reputation, Joanne from a ruptured superiority complex, and so on), there are at least two weak ideas waiting around the corner, literally. Haley’s friends, a pair of dudes named Frank and, um, Poot, are self-proclaimed “hetero lifemates” (are they old enough to quote a Kevin Smith film?) who gaze at the girls in spandex and rip farts with alarming frequency. Har. Then there’s Joanne, the bimbo who refers to Haley as “Pariah Carey” and spouts lines like “This is a bad idea. You're going to give yourself a cardiovasectomy!” or “What's with all the closed-captioning?! I'm not mute!”

However, Joanne lacks a true intelligence beneath her ignorance that would make her lines truly witty, but instead, Bendinger strains herself to cramp every other quip into her mouth, and so very few work with any shade of sincerity. That, combined with the relentless inclusion of gym slang in the continuing effort to be hip (to clarify, ‘eating mat hard’ isn’t the same thing as providing fellatio to a young lad named Matthew), only stresses that the film is taking “not taking itself too seriously” to heart and not doing a particularly good job in the process. For a film aimed at female teens, I have no doubt that they’ll eat this up, but I highly doubt that they’ll be quoting it and snatching up the DVD afterwards, as they have with superior fare.

Peregrym, quite possibly the long-lost daughter of Hilary Swank or Linda Fiorentino, can’t quite nail the snarky demeanor that is supposed to permeate every frame in which she appears. We know she’s a rebel (a black leotard!), we know she’s a smartass (a wisecrack!), but Haley comes across as more moody than maverick. Lengies does try her hardest to be a special kind of vacuous, but once more, her lines do her no favors. Bridges would undoubtedly be more comfortable with a White Russian in his hand, and maybe he had a few off-camera, because he brings his stern tolerance without any degree of subtle enthusiasm, but he alone brings the ideal emphasis on his role compared to the gaggle of girls that surround him.

Other than hollow zingers, Bendinger makes her directorial debut depending on little besides kaleidoscopic camera work to liven up the proceedings. The plot especially slumps prior to the allegedly rousing championship competition, where things do get decidedly interesting as the gymnasts decide to “stick it” to the nearest authority figure, those big bullies known as judges. (The only thing more evil than them are the grating commentators who blab on throughout each round of rebellion.) Even if the title’s dual meaning becomes a bit too obvious, things begin to pick up until Bendinger becomes cocky with her newfound strut and goes on for twice as long as necessary, muffling the message along the way. Such bold behavior would be more remarkable were it not so proud of itself, a trait that haunts the entire film.

'Bring It On' featured a character VERY similar in physicality and attitude to Haley with the grouchy gymnast-turned-cheerleader Missy (!). Played by Eliza Dushku, she had the right amount of venom and vigor, and made it crystal clear that she didn’t want to be a part of the squad from the get-go. All Bendinger did was transfer Missy back to a school that had a gymnastics team and tried to maintain that exact same demeanor, and frankly, she simply doesn’t fit in here, and her stubborn efforts to conform as a rebel make her less of a poser and just more of a poor sport.

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originally posted: 05/24/06 03:26:05
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User Comments

7/24/10 art it reminded me of "MAN OF THE HOUSE" with TOMMY LEE JONES! 2 stars
3/03/10 Mary worth watching twice 5 stars
9/21/09 sdfan Loved this movie. Loved the gymnastics especially. Real gymnasts doing real gymnastics. 5 stars
6/23/09 art BORING BORING BORING! 1 stars
2/14/09 love it love her book bag 5 stars
6/21/07 loveer lotts its such a good movie hashah loverr 4 stars
4/11/07 kayla i love the movie and who dosent is just plane idiot 5 stars
2/28/07 Beau its for people with an aquired taste, but it was well made and had a resonalbly good plot 3 stars
11/26/06 Riki Witty, fast pace, and one hot chicka...I Like it!!! 5 stars
10/25/06 etcgymnast People that hate the movie just dont understand gymnastics.Gymnasts can really relate to it 5 stars
10/12/06 sxyraver i like this movie because i did the same thing i gave up the one thing i was kick ass at an 5 stars
10/07/06 jermaine I think you hit your fuckin' head on that 4-inch beam! 1 stars
10/01/06 michael AHH cheerleaders 4 stars
9/20/06 rambler Worse than Wtching "According to Jim" 1 stars
9/20/06 Jenna im a gymnast, this is hardcore. You who think it sucks, you go do flips on a 4 inch beam !! 5 stars
9/18/06 m@dd! r0x i hate gymnastics and i hate the movie it suks 1 stars
9/17/06 criddifa it was awesome stuff, loved it. all u ppl's that hated it u dont know what ur talking about 5 stars
7/19/06 TaTNaHa XapKOB Funny when it insimulates a cardiovasectomy; lame otherwise. 2 stars
6/24/06 Shelz I think this is one of the best movies ever 5 stars
6/05/06 mary barely watchable 2 stars
5/26/06 kylie if you didn't like this movie you have no idea what you are saying 5 stars
5/19/06 Staci I hate crap like this but my teen dragged me to it. 2 stars
5/11/06 SteveO Gym-nice-tics? More like Gym-nice-tits! 3 stars
5/01/06 brittany ITS MY FAVORITE MOVIE NOW. 5 stars
4/30/06 Mase Less a sassy "bring it on" more a sloppy patchwork of lite gym politics.For gym fans only 3 stars
4/29/06 kelly awesome! i loved it! 5 stars
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  28-Apr-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Sep-2006



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