|Stick It (2006)
Starring: Missy Peregrym, Jeff Bridges, Nikki SooHoo, Maddy Curley
Director: Jessica Bendinger
To anyone who saw the trailer for “Stick It” and immediately wrote it off as nothing more than a clone of the über-popular “Bring It On,” well, you’re half-right. You see, both films were written by the same person (Jessica Bendinger), so while they’re remarkably similar in both story and tone, “Stick It” isn’t quite the commercial rip-off that most people had it pegged for. It’s also not as good, either, and where “Bring It On” managed to attract fans outside of the girly-girl target audience as a bonafide guilty pleasure, “Stick It” won’t appeal to anyone other than the usual gaggle of tweens.
Following in the footsteps of the cheerleading comedy, the film’s female protagonist is not only independent, but she’s also a natural talent in her sport of choice. In this case, it’s the world of competitive gymnastics, but the rebellious Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) hasn’t been a part of that world ever since she walked out on her teammates at the championships two years prior. After yet another run-in with the law, however, Haley is forced to return to the one place she thought she left forever, and a new coach (Jeff Bridges) who won’t let her give up as easily – both as an athlete and a person.
The casting of Bridges as the washed-up coach of an elite gymnastics academy is a pretty big stretch when it comes to believability – especially when all you can think about is The Dude doing back flips on a trampoline – but somehow, the veteran actor pulls off a remarkable performance. Peregrym, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as impressive. The up-and-coming actress wasn’t exactly the worst thing about the short-lived ABC series, “Life As We Know It,” but she also wasn’t the best. The same rule applies here, if only because she’s surrounded by much-less experienced actresses like Nikki SooHoo and Maddy Curley, whose performances are so bad that you can never actually tell if they’re playing dumb or just like that in real life.
On the upside, “Stick It” has a great soundtrack (including Missy Elliot’s version of “We Run This”) and some mesmerizing kaleidoscopic dance sequences reminiscent of an old Busby Berkeley film. And while it may not equal Olympic gold, I'm pretty certain that was never their intention. You won't find anything particularly great about "Stick It," but at least you'll have fun watching it.
The single-disc release of “Stick It” is packed with bonus features, including two audio commentaries (one with writer/director Jessica Bendinger and co-stars Missi Peregrym and Vanessa Lengies, and another with Bendinger and various crew) and eight deleted scenes. Also appearing on the DVD is a three-minute blooper reel, a short video montage of all the real gymnasts that appeared in the film (“Hard Corps”), the full gymnastic routines from Nastia Liukin and Isabella Severino, as well as two music videos (Missy Elliot’s “We Run This” and Jeanie Ortega’s “Crowded”).