Bring It On (2000) 20th Anniversary Review

Limber up those spirit-fingers, it’s time for a Bring It On 20th Anniversary school reunion!

I can’t remember when I first watched “Bring It On”. I remember Eliza Dushku caught my attention, so I followed her from “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” to this. Call it a leap of Faith. In any event, while I came for the casting, I stayed for the peppy, energetic script and performances. It rises above its niche interest to deliver a fresh and funny tale of being true to yourself.

When Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) becomes team captain as the Cheerleading squad looks to win its sixth consecutive national title, it seems like a dream come true. But when a member of the squad breaks a leg and it turns out the last captain stole their winning routines from other schools, the dream quickly turns to a nightmare. It’s up to Torrance and new recruit Missy (Eliza Dushku) to figure out a way back for their fraud squad to compete at nationals with their head held high.

Although it’s now twenty years old, Peyton Reed’s bright and breezy comedy holds up really well, thanks mainly to likeable central performances from Dunst, Dushku and Jesse Bradford. Dunst, in particular, shines as the ambitious cheer captain, delivering a performance to match the sun-drenched Californian setting, a world away from her dreary performances in the “Spider-Man” movies which would follow. There’s sparky chemistry amongst the cast and the dialogue is almost endlessly quotable, it’s just a shame it doesn’t give many of the supporting cast enough time to shine. , there’s a genuine appeal to the friendship between Torrance and Missy and the tentative romance between Torrance and Missy’s brother.

Filled with all the usual emotional rollercoaster moments of teen comedies, aside from some salty language, there’s not much to alarm a family audience here so of course, I shared it with the Littlest Craggling, given her love of dance and competition and, of course, dance competitions. Although not quite as sharp or as polished, there’s quite a lot of similarity between “Bring It On” and “Pitch Perfect” (a firm family favourite) and arguably my fondness for the former probably goes some way to explaining how much I adore the latter.

A fun watch, even twenty years later, “Bring It On” can still bring it, although from what I’ve heard the unconnected straight-to-DVD sequels which followed really fumble the spirit stick if you know what I mean.