Time: 98 mins.
Genre: Comedy/High School
SYNOPSIS: A champion high school cheerleading squad discovers its previous captain stole all their best routines from an inner-city school and must scramble to come up with a new one in order to compete at the year's championships.
BOTTOM LINE: A light-hearted teen romp that's made eminently watchable by the perky earnestness of its' leading lady Dunst. Long before she got caught in Spidey's web, this young actress has been holding her own against industry heavyweights like Pitt and Cruise and sometimes even stealing the show. I heartily admit to dismissing this frothy delight about the competitive sport of cheerleading as unworthy of my time.
Dunst proves that statement wrong with every frame of this silly, forthright, honestly engaging story of a cheerleading captain who overcomes adversity from all sides, including ubur-bitchy teammates, a cheating boyfriend and a routine that's less than stellar on the road to the National Championships. The pressure is intense for Torrance, a regular teen for whom cheerleading is the end all be all of her existence. Not because she's a total dimwit, but because she truly believes in her team and her place on it.
When her bubble is burst by lies and disasters she proves to everyone that she's a winner on and off the grass, facing adversity head on and leading her team to a chance at the top spot. Garbielle Union also shines as the captain of the inner city school, who refuses to back down and gives Dunst and her crew a run for their money. The film doesn't take itself too seriously, keeping the tone exactly where it should be focused on fun. Dunst and crew are clearly enjoying themselves and you will too.
Competitive cheerleading is clearly physically harder and more emotionally cutthroat than I expected. A high school flick that dares to be different...and succeeds. It's not the most complex or intelligent of films, but it's well-acted and clever enough to bring more than a few smiles to your face.