Bring It On – All Or Nothing

Distributed by Universal Studios

Rated PG-13 for sexual humor and language

Running Time: 99 minutes

by Jon Minners

Bring it On was not a theatrical hit, but it was a cult hit and after countless DVD rentals and airings on the USA Network, it has become somewhat of a classic amongst most film fans who see the film as a major vehicle for stars like Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku and Gabrielle Union, on their way to bigger projects along the way, more so for Dunst than anyone else.

Of course, any film that becomes a hit warrants a sequel, or more so, force-feeds people a sequel. Bring it On Again was that sequel and it sucked. That film focused on a rag-tag spirit squad that competed against a school’s main cheerleaders in order to take its place. The film had no attractive merits outside of watching girls in skirts, which can be seen any time through the downloading of porn for all you sick people out there.

In terms of actual entertainment and a fun, if not quirky storyline, or even likeable characters, Bring It On’s sequel didn’t succeed, so one would think that there would be no reason for a third entry in the now limping series of films. But those who thought that would be wrong.

Bring it On – All or Nothing is the next film, a straight to DVD release that already spells doom for those looking to rent a flick with their girl on a Friday night. But for those who went that step and brought this home, hoping for something a little different, thanks in part to the inclusion of some star power in the form of current recording sensation Rihana or even Beyonce’s sister Solange Knowles, and even the Rize-inspired Krump inclusion into the routines, it’s time to rethink your philosophy on what makes for a great movie night.

The film follows Britney Allen, played by Hayden Panettiere, who has been typecast with a twist as a cheerleader in the far more superior acting vehicle Heroes, on NBC. Allen is living the dream. She has just been named the captain of her cheerleading squad at a preppy school where people speak in IM or text talk and go to Starbucks after or in between classes. But being the head of the Pacific Vista High School cheerleading squad isn’t all pompoms and sunshine. Allen is being pressured into having sex by her non-stud of a boyfriend, whose name I can’t even recall, played by a no-talent who will only be known as the supposedly cool brother, if there was one, on the bomb of a FOX mid-season disaster Quintuplets. She has to watch her back, because her so-called best friend wants her spot and she has to go against her beliefs when criticizing her friends on such topics as weight, as it pertains to being a cheerleader. Her life would be better off not being the captain.

And that’s exactly what happens when her father hits rough times and they are forced to move to Crenshaw, a predominantly black school that is far from preppy and downright street. Text talk will get you shot, but the biggest threat is the temptation to join the school’s squad and become a Panther, despite making a cheer-promise (the most law abiding kind) not to, amongst her friends. The temptation is made far greater due to the need to best the squad’s captain, played by Knowles, who gets on the wrong foot with the “white girl.”

Of course, the viewer knows what happens. Allen learns to be a team player. She joins the squad, her old team finds out, she must regain her old friend’s trust, while making new friends amongst those who think she’s a stuck up princess, and all while trying to earn her team a spot in Rihanna’s upcoming television special. If you wonder which two teams the competition comes down to, you obviously do not understand the formula of most movies and should probably turn in your Blockbuster card or cancel your Netflix account.

While race is going to be an issue when dealing with the circumstances of the film, it really wasn’t hit hard upon, until much later, which made for very awkward moments. When you don’t hit a subject from the beginning and then have a character bad mouth black people and have Allen step up to her former friend turned enemy and challenge her punctuating her threat with the words, “white girl,” there is going to be a sudden uneasiness to watching the film. Having black girls curse and act in a threatening matter, unlike their white counterparts and making the black guy in the film overly aggressive when it comes to sex, all while making it so that the one Asian girl in the movie boasts to knowing kung-fu before taking a battle stance, is also not a great idea when making a teen movie that should not encourage stereotypes.

Plot out of the way, this film sucks. The dialogue is cheesy, the storyline is choppy and the characters are not likeable at all, nor do they react in the way most people would when confronted with the situations that occur throughout the film. Some of the racist banter would not have resulted in a cheer-off; I can tell you that much.

Also, the inclusion of krump into the routine was inspired, but unrealized, not even coming close to the choreography that was showcased in the documentary Rize, of which crumping first really became popular. A lot better was shown by novices who had no opportunity to retake a scene on the reality series, So You Think You Can Dance. While a novel idea, it was wasted in the grand scheme of things.

There is certainly nothing to cheer about in this film. The original Bring it On was a great movie and one that could be watched all over again. This movie made that even more evident, but at the same time cheapened the classic. Put the pompoms away.


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