(In theaters, November 2000) You can evaluate films on artistic merit, or you can just measure how much fun you had while watching it. Well, Bring It On is unquestionably one of 2000’s most enjoyable films, an irresistibly bubbly teen comedy executed with skill and above-average intelligence. A rather complete surprise, considering that you wouldn’t except a teen sport comedy about cheerleading to be anything but fluff. But while Bring It On doesn’t break out of the teen genre as, say, Election did, it remains as one of the best recent entries in the genre. The script very good, filled with good one-liners, properly acknowledging clichés and managing non-boring relationship scenes. The actors all look like they’re having fun, with Kirsten Dunst continuing her good career choices. (In fifty years, I suspect she’ll pop up that film once in a while just to bask in the glory of how good she looked and how well she performed.) Technically, the choreography of the cheerleading scenes is really impressive and the soundtrack is very good (Even somewhat clever, linking 2 Unlimited’s “Are you ready for this” to a trite, unoriginal routine. Ho-ho!) From its incredible first scene (a masterwork of structure, introducing the main characters in a wild-out dream sequence) to its bouncy sing-along credits, Bring It On is one of the year’s surprise delights, a teen film that’s enjoyable well beyond its simple voyeuristic appeal. Though that’s not to be neglected either.
(Second viewing, On DVD, July 2001) Among the dreck that passes off as teen films, you occasionally get a smart film that either goes beyond the teen genre (Election) or simply works so well that everyone can get into it (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Bring It On is another example in that last category, a fun film without any pretensions, but made with considerable cleverness by people with perspective and respect for the audience. The film is a blast even on a second viewing, and the director’s audio commentary is worth another viewing by itself. (Choice quote, which probably explains the appeal of Bring It On to me: “I tried making a cheerleader film with a punk sensibility”.) You might even pick up a few of the subtle messages (No!) vehicled by the film. Impossible not to smile and cheer for a film when everyone involved looks like they’re having that much fun! Be sure to check out the “deleted scenes” section of the DVD, which features great scenes you’ll wish had remained in the finished product. I love the film more than ever, and easily confirm its standing on my 2000 Top-10 list.