[box cover]

Bring It On: Collector's Edition

What's more fun than watching a group of teenage girls in short skirts cavort on the big screen for 90 minutes? How about watching two groups of 'em? People with a thing for the gals in the pep squad will love Bring It On, a serious-yet-tongue-in-cheek look at the world of competitive high school cheerleading that focuses on the rivalry between two Southern California squads: San Diego's Rancho Carne High Toros and L.A.'s East Compton Clovers. The Toros, headed up by newly appointed captain Torrance Shipman (played perfectly by everyone's favorite nymphet Kirsten Dunst), are five-time national champions who find out that all of their prize-winning routines have been cribbed from the Clovers, an inner-city squad that's never been able to afford the trek to the championships. Torrance takes the discovery as a personal challenge to come up with something new and better, and she throws herself into it with the help of new recruit Missy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Eliza Dushku), a punkish transfer student from L.A. Along the way she firmly establishes control over her "cheerocracy" and manages to fall for Missy's alternative-minded brother Cliff (Jesse Bradford) in a sweet romantic subplot. Bring It On succeeds because it both celebrates cheerleading (anyone who watches these girls — and guys — tumble through their routines will be a convert to the "cheerleading is so a sport" way of thinking) and pokes fun at it. But the film's subversive tone is firmly established from the first scene, a big, showy dream sequence in which the Toros introduce themselves with a cheer that offers up lines like "I'm sexy, I'm cute, I'm popular to boot!" Jessica Bendinger's smart script keeps the zingers coming while allowing for some of the gratuitousness everyone has come to expect from a movie about high school cheerleaders (i.e. the locker room and car wash scenes), and the casting couldn't be better. Dunst was born to play Torrance, a perky, sunshiny girl who's basically cheerleading incarnate. Dushku is great as the skeptical Missy, and Bradford is charming as Cliff. Universal does the movie proud with their Collector's Edition DVD. The long list of extras includes a full-length commentary by director Peyton Reed, a behind-the-scenes featurette, ten deleted scenes and three extended ones (all with intros from Reed), home-movie footage from the car wash scene, clips from Dunst and Dushku's wardrobe and makeup tests, a Pop Up Video-esque track with trivia tidbits, a music video for Blaque's "As If," text production notes, cast and filmmaker bios, the theatrical trailer, and DVD-ROM features (a screensaver, a cheer quiz, and more). The film looks and sounds great — the Dolby Digital and DTS options are both as good as sitting in the gym and watching the girls cheer in person, and the 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is crisp and clear. Other language options include a French track and English subtitles. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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