by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)
Jeff Bridges as BURT VICKERMAN
Missy Peregrym as HALEY GRAHAM
Vanessa Lengies as JOANNE CHARIS
Nikki SooHoo as WEI WEI YONG
Maddy Curley as MINA HOYT
Kellan Lutz as FRANK
John Patrick Amedori as POOT
Mio Dzakula as IVAN
Directed by: Jessica Bendinger
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I will admit that I have been dreading writing this review. To be honest, I was dreading seeing the film “Stick It,” but I honestly think I was dreading writing the review even more. Why? What can I say about this movie that isn’t so painfully obvious? How can I bring myself to relive the film in my mind in order to wax poetic about its merits as a piece of entertainment or a piece of art.
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Let’s face it. No one is going to see “Stick It” unless they fit squarely into the film’s target demographic – teenage girls. I’m sure there are some guys who have seen the film either in the theater or on DVD, but they were probably doing it to impress a girl.
I don’t fall in that demographic. “Stick It” was not made for fat, bald guys in their mid-30s. So is it a big surprise that I didn’t like the movie?
Let’s take it for what it is – a story of competition within the elite world of gymnastics. There’s the obligatory rebel in the group, Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym). She’s all punked out with her skateboarding friends, but when she accidentally destroys part of a new home build, she’s disciplined by the court. Instead of being sent to juvie, she’s forced to go back to gymnastics school and train under the hideously creepy Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges).
We soon learn that everyone in the gymnastics world hates Haley, not just because she was once one of the best, but also because she walked out on nationals a few years back, causing her team to be disqualified. Now she has to deal with her former teammates and actually try to learn something in the process.
My biggest problem with “Stick It” is that it’s a film made for nobody else but gymnastics fans. Like “Ice Princess” a few years back, which only appealed to ice skaters, “Stick It” is a way for the writer/director to vent her spleen about the problems with the sport. The only problem here is that the rest of us just don’t care about her gripes.
From a technical standpoint, “Stick It” works. There’s some hip editing and snappy scenes. A few too many montages with music, but what do you expect from a film like this?
The message is muddled. On one hand, it preaches team spirit, but on the other hand it excuses whiney temper tantrums if the situation warrants it. I never found anything to really like about the character of Haley. Yeah, she had some tough times in her past, but she so rejected the world that I had no sympathy for her. She was too much of a rebel.
I suppose this film points out some problematic points in the gymnastics world, but again, why should I care? It’s not like these girls are forced to do gymnastics. It takes such commitment and money that only the richest folks can afford such focus, and only the most single-minded girls will put up with all the crap they need to in order to be the best.
Ultimately, “Stick It” was a forgettable piece. Writer/director Jessica Bendinger (a former gymnast herself) gave us a snappy script in “Bring It On,” but she gets too personal for her own good with this movie.
At least the DVD comes with a nice assortment of features. There’s multiple commentary tracks as well as features on the real gymnasts, unedited routines, slow-motion movement studies , outtakes, bloopers, deleted scenes and a couple music videos.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language tracks. French and Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.