Stick It
Now I see how they got Jeff Bridges to appear in the film.

Theatrical Release Date: 04/28/2006
Director: Jessica Bendinger
Cast: Missy Peregrym, Jeff Bridges, Vanessa Lengies

Well, my adoring public demanded this review and I have one thing to say … “Stick It”! … to the EXTREME!!!!!!!

Who am I saying that to though? Not anyone I know personally … At least not for the next few hundred words.

In writer/director Jessica Bendinger’s “Stick It”, a former gymnastics wunderkind (Missy Peregrym) is dragged back into the world of competitive teenage growth-stunting and world-class leotard wedgies.

Yep, it’s one deep and profound story.

And Bendinger is just the woman for the job, what with “Bring It On” and “First Daughter” as some of her previous screenplays.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some “Bring It On” and I even found some good, clean fun in “First Daughter” (though my thoughts are dirty about both). But reeeeeaaalllly! What the hell was going on with “Stick It”?!?

Let me start with the editing. There are many, many, MANY uses of the sped-up film technique. I suppose it’s to convey how EXTREME this film is!

What makes this idea even worse is the bad, bad execution of speeding up the film. Instead of a nice smooth transition between regular-speed and sped up film, it looks more like the projectionist clipped out a few frames here and there.

Every single Steven Seagal movie uses the sped up film aspect better!

Now let’s head for the way Bendinger thought she could make gymnastics look more EXTREME!! Instead of showing off the amazing agility and strength gymnasts employ to bend their bodies into awkward and yet shamefully erotic positions, Bendinger turned nearly half of the routines into Fruitopia commercials.

She uses an overlapping film technique to show multiple gymnasts performing their routines all at once. She arranges the gymnasts on the floor and shoots them from above to portray a faux water ballet, akin to that used in “The Great Muppet Caper” or “Caddyshack”. And to go past that into true Fruitopia trademark infringement, she uses a kaleidoscope effect to try and dazzle the audience into thinking they’re watching anything better than a steaming pile of elephant droppings.

Moving on from poor film technique, we look at the characters. All of the standard clichés are present and accounted for. There is the gruff and embattled coach (Jeff Bridges) with a heart of gold. There is an inter-squad rival (Vanessa Lengies) who changes her misguided ways and becomes a friend to the heroine. And there are some goofy comic relief characters that help keep such a serious film from bringing the audience down too much.

Before I start ripping apart the story, let me just point out that among the comic relief are two slackers, one of which is named Poot. Yup, his name even in the credits is Poot. The fantastic thing is, he’s NOT the idiot who has a running fart gag. What a genius piece of writing that was!

Now on to finding more faults with the film. It isn’t simple and harmless enough to do a story about a lost girl becoming secure in who she is through the world of gymnastics. Oh no. Just as the heroine and her team rival get on the same page, we are led into the true meat of the matter.

At the big tournament (by now we’re at an ungodly number of clichés), the judges decide to lower the scores of our valiant flexible athletes because of their reputation and that of their coach. So instead of a nice, simple girl conquers personal demons and wins championship kind-of movie, the audience is forced to endure a soapbox against the way gymnastics is scored.

Let that sink in. A film entitled “Stick It” has the stones to attempt social commentary.

What makes it even more disturbing are the real former gymnasts helping the film attempt to make a point more thoughtful than why gymnast’s leotards don’t ride up quite as much as they should (though that far too long unanswered question is revealed if you’re wondering.)

Carly Patterson, Tim Daggett, Elfi Schlegel and the man, Bart Conner himself, all lend their likenesses to the making of this “film”. And considering the last three all currently do commentary for real events, you’d think they’d have the sense not to help a film perpetuate a judging bias conspiracy theory.

So after an hour of the typical teen gone wrong trying to make it right story, the last quarter of the film devolves into an attempt to shed light on how unfair it is to judge these gymnasts using any barometer that isn’t the gymnasts themselves.

Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.

You know, all I wanted was a nice, fluffy film with cute girls prancing around in tight spandex. But noooooo, I got a film with a message and arguably only two cute girls. Many of the other gymnasts look like they might be missing part, or all, of their 23rd chromosome. It’s not a pretty sight I tell you.

I guess the gist of all that I’m saying is that the film is bad. There is nothing original or fresh about it. Any fun that could have been had was removed before being shown to audiences or was never there at all. I didn’t even laugh at the film so much as groan that it wasn’t over yet.

I’m giving “Stick It” a 2 out of 5, for the number of fingers on both hands I’m sticking up in response to having sat through this EXTREME waste of Kodak film.

Oh, and if you thought I forgot to tell you why the gymnast’s leotards don’t give them atomic wedgies during competition, the answer is ‘tough skin’. It’s an adhesive that they spray on in key spots to keep their attire presentable.

Tough skin is also what you would need to sit through this film. Trust me when I say that unless you are a masochist who gets into movies for free (and face facts, you’re not me), you don’t want to see this film.