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May 02, 2006 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-05-02

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3 a 3P

"Are you going to get on this pole or what?"
'Stick It' in with
the rest of them

° '°'
- ...

By Jeremy Davidson
Daily Arts Writer
When James Dean starred in
"Rebel Without a Cause," he helped
define the role
of the rebel in Stick It
American film.
If he could see At the Showcase.
how that genre and Quality 16
has evolved, he Touchstone
would probably
have something to rebel against.
"Stick It" follows Haley Graham
(Missy Peregrym, TV's "Small-
ville"), a renegade gymnast turned
punk-skater, on her journey out of
retirement from competitive gym-
nastics. A judge orders Haley to
return to gymnastics after she crash-
es through a window while BMX
biking with her friends. In order to
correct her unruly behavior, Haley's.
father (Jon Gries, "Napoleon Dyna-
mite") sends her to an elite gymnas-
tics academy run by Burt Vickerman
(Jeff Bridges, "The Big Lebowski").
Vickerman and Haley quickly
butt heads over training philosophy,
setting her apart from her team-
mates. She encounters an old rival,
Joanne Charis (Vanessa Lengies,
TV's "American Dreams") at the
academy, and the two quickly start
exchanging biting remarks. Joanne's
character - while mostly a ste-
reotypical, bitchy drama queen -
* slings some half-decent one-liners at
Haley. Still, for the most part, she's
better off keeping her mouth shut (at
one point she actually asks her coach
for a sleeveless leotard, because she
has a "constitutional right to bare
arms"). Most of the film's humor
comes from these types of exchang-
es, steeped in sarcasm, cliches and

ignorance. The scenes of "Clueless"-
esque catfights are strung together
with montages of intense gymnas-
tic routines, which are performed
to a soundtrack of Fall Out Boy and
equivalent emo bands.
As the film opens, Haley's rebel-
lious attitude isolates her from her
teammates, and as the plot pro-
gresses, it begins to permeate her
teammates' routines and attitudes.
The ultimate rebellion comes in the
grand finale, which takes place at
the national gymnastics meet. In
protest of the scrutiny of the judg-
es at the meet, the athletes refuse
to compete against one another.
Instead of competing, the girls
select one person to participate
in each event, while every other
competitor scratches, leaving their
designated athlete champion by
default. In scratching their events,
Haley and the other athletes let
the rebellion fly, flashing their bra
straps (an automatic point deduc-
tion), moon-walking and throwing
up the infamous devil horns hand
symbol of heavy metal.
The only aspect of the film that
is more lacking than sharp dialogue
is the presence of intelligent male
protagonists. Haley's biggest fans,
Poot (John Patrick Amedori, "The
Butterfly Effect") and Frank (new-
comer Kellan Lutz), look as if they
jumped out of an ad for Hollister
Co. The only roles Haley's two skat-
er-boy sidekicks (who, in a differ-
ent teen movie, would probably play
token stoners) serve are as gawking
cheerleaders and easy targets for
crude jokes.
If you can sit through "Bring It
On," "Stick It" works at about the
same level. But if you have trouble
looking past the conformity in non-
conformity, this isn't your film.

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