22 October 2000 | Chris_Docker
Flimsy stuff done rather well
This is a movie where more talent than necessary has been invested in a film basically aimed at entertainment-seeking adolescents, people interested in dance routines, and a few older men who enjoy watching young girls jump about. It follows the fortunes of an award-winning cheerleader team and the hapless football team they support.
A film about cheer leading, something that is, as far as I know, a uniquely American phenomenon, sounds pretty cheesy. The remarkable thing is that the acting and dialogue raise it a bit above the minimum required and the cheer leading dance sequences are a revelation for anyone who thought it was just about waving arms in the air and shouting support for the football team.
Gabrielle Union (10 Things I Hate About You) and Kirsten Dunst (Drop Dead Gorgeous & Virgin Suicides) were both cheerleaders at school - did this help with the authenticity? The amazing routines are quite dazzling to watch - requiring a very high level of stamina, physical fitness, athletic ability and dance technique. The overhead panning brings them almost to the level some of the old song and dance movie scenes with synchronized dancing. Synchronized dance in itself is difficult stuff, but fast paced synchronized dancing (to a great soundtrack, by the way) involving major aerial throws, difficult jive moves and lots of personality thrown in, is quite an achievement.
The film never takes itself too seriously, from the football announcer who says at the end of the match, "our next defeat is scheduled for next Tuesday", to the out-takes while the credits roll, the attitude is firmly tongue in cheek.
The script includes plenty of teenage bitching reminiscent of Clueless (adolescents often seem to show their intellectual prowess at clever, and often vicious repartee, that is all par for the course), but the acting is convincing and even the awkward issues of race and homosexuality are handled well. One cannot but help congratulate them for making a good film out of such a flimsy premise.