Sugar & Spice (2001)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Crime

Sugar & Spice (2001) Poster

A popular high-school cheerleader becomes pregnant by the star quarterback and turns to crime to support her desired lifestyle.




  • Alexandra Holden stars as Fern
  • Julie Benz at an event for Sugar & Spice (2001)
  • James Marsden and Marley Shelton in Sugar & Spice (2001)
  • Marley Shelton at an event for Sugar & Spice (2001)
  • Marla Sokoloff at an event for Sugar & Spice (2001)
  • Julie Benz at an event for Sugar & Spice (2001)

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22 December 2003 | Victor Field
...and not much of anything nice.
Buried on both sides of the Atlantic by "Bring It On" (the latter didn't duplicate its American box office success in the UK, but at least it got to cinemas), it's to the credit of "Sugar & Spice" that there's a big difference between the two in terms of plot, characters and overall feel - okay, they are both about cheerleaders but are they really cut from the same cloth on that count? As an American journalist wrote about Stephen J. Cannell, the only real similarity between "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and "The Greatest American Hero" is that both shows involve flying.

That said, this movie is still the lesser one. One of the problems are that writer Mandy Nelson and director Francine McDougall don't seem too sure about what kind of tone it should have; it seems to want to be darker but can't summon up the nerve, its characters veer from one-note (particularly Cleo, the Conan O'Brien obsessive) to semi-real (Diane, the cheerleader captain whose unwed mother plight launches the plot), and having the movie be narrated in flashback by a rival rule-obsessed girl suggests we'll be seeing it from her POV, but it's not until some way into the story that she actually plays any kind of a role.

The movie's intentionally uncomfortable to watch, but also never especially funny - and it doesn't help that with the exception of Alexandra Holden as Fern, most of the cast aren't too believable as teenagers (and why do so many of them have first or last names that begin with the letter M? Marla Sokoloff, Marley Shelton, Melissa George [who, incidentally, I thought was playing Diane until the credits set me right], Mena Suvari, Sara Marsh...). It passes the time, and at least it's short - and give the makers credit for not trying to gloss over problems of young couples - but Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku are ultimately the short-skirt-wearers of choice in this milieu.

"Sugar & Spice" could have used more of both parts of its title.

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