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DVD Review: Bring It On: All Or Nothing

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Once in a while, the Caballero likes to put aside his high-brow indie dramas and foreign flicks and have a little mindless movie fun. When I was offered an advance copy of the latest direct-to-video Bring It On adventure, my guilty pleasure alarm went off and I leapt at the opportunity. Hey, I’m a red-blooded American Snob and I like watching cheerleaders, what can I say? The clinchers that added to the appeal were a co-starring role by Beyonce’s younger, less bootylicious sister Solange Knowles-Smith, and an appearance by pop tart sensation Rihanna.

For those of you keeping track, this is the third Bring It On movie. For those not keeping track, Bring It On was originally a theatrical release about rival cheerleading squads starring Kirsten Dunst. The basic premise of that first release is repeated here: rich, upper-class, mostly white, cheerleading squad faces off against poor, inner city squad for the championship. This time around, the big prize is a chance to back up Rihanna in a music video. This choice allows the filmmakers to incorporate more street dancing into the choreography mix since the final routines don’t have to adhere to the rules of whatever governing body oversees cheer competitions.

Hayden Panettiere leads the cast as the spunky head cheerleader at an exclusive coastal high school in Southern California. Although far from a household name, she has an extensive resume including a role in NBC’s upcoming fall series Heroes and an early appearance as Princess Dot’s voice in A Bug's Life. She’s very convincing in her role, and she adds great physicality to it with an arsenal of impressive dance moves. Sadly, Knowles-Smith isn’t quite as effective, seeming a bit wooden and not entirely convincing as the tough, angry foil. That's not entirely a knock on her, she just seems too nice to pull off the constant rage required of her role.

The movie gets off to a rocky start with an extended dream sequence that causes more confusion than interest. Eventually, the real story kicks into gear and shows Panettiere’s character being forced to leave her cheerleading squad and high school behind when her dad loses his job and has to move the family to the lower rent district in the ‘hood. This sets up a fish-out-of-water story for Panetierre as she’s forced to adapt to the inner city life. Unfortunately, this also sets up some truly groan-inducing moments such as her first arrival in her new school’s parking lot (in convertible VW, natch) where she immediately encounters a rainbow coalition of stereotypical students break dancing and hitting switches in their lowriders.

Luckily, the film manages to rise above its occasional racial insensitivity with a warm-hearted tale of finding common ground and binding together to reach a shared goal. The script packs some snappy dialogue good for a few laughs, and the cast does double duty as actors and cheerleaders, showing off some impressive moves and routines between reciting their lines. Yes, those energetic routines alone are worth the price of…um, rental or purchase.

The DVD packs a few extras including the requisite bloopers reel, behind-the-scenes production footage, and a unique segment that lets viewers learn step-by-step a full dance routine with one of the primary choreographers and a handful of the cast members. Expect to see that routine in cheer routines at homecoming games everywhere this fall.

While the direct-to-DVD market is usually suspect in quality, the latest Bring It On entry proves that the format can work when placed in the right hands. It’s far from essential viewing, but it's a pleasant diversion that delivers exactly what it advertises, which is more than most theatrical releases can muster.

Written by Caballero Oscuro

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS
  • http://www.alarilla.com joey alarilla

    thanks for this review. i loved the first movie, and after reading your article i want to check this one out now.

  • Shannon Waller

    I thought this movie was great. I have been reading reviews of how awful it was, and I just got to say that if you think this movie is bad you have no taste what so ever. The actors have put alot of hard work into this movie and you just cut them down. Well I have seen every Bring it on movie and I have to say this is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong I liked the first one. I however did NOT like the second one at all. But as I said this was totally and completely
    the best one so far. Good job to all the Actors you were very Convincing. Great Job.

  • http://USA KATIE FOREMAN

    I LOVED THE MOVIE BRING IT ON ALL OR NOTHING

  • http://USA KATIE FOREMAN

    CAN YOU PLEASE COME OUT WITH ANOTHER MOVIE OF BRING IT ON. LOVE,KATIE FOREMAN AGE 9 MY BIRTH DAY IS AGUST 19

  • Ashley

    I liked the movie..but really want to know whats the name of the song winny dances too..its like “Im a cheerleader I run this school and Im hot”

  • BABY GIRL

    I LOVE THIS MOVE SO MUCH …….. I’M A CHEERLEADER TOO IN MY SCHOOL I’M SO SO SO POPULER BECAUSE I’M THE CAPTAIN OF MY SQUOD AND ON GEEKS OR NERDS CAN TALK TO ME BECAUSE I SO HOT.

  • http://dec.31 sarah

    dear ashley . its not im a chearleeder i run this school and im hot its..im a cheerleeder and your not i run this scool and im hot i gotch your boyfriend and i dont really care

  • http://dec.31 sarah

    IGOT THE MOVIE 4 CHRISTMAS AND ITS ALSOME AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH SO ALSOME

  • http://IMHOTihaveaboyfirendtoo sarah

    themovie was cool

  • Erin

    gus carr is sooooooooooo hot i saw you in nelly furtado vido ( maneater ) lol you look hot in that well it doesnt make a difference coz you always look hot and im sure most girls will agree with me on that lol

  • Erin

    i really want to know the song when they are krumping at practice and britney ( hayden panettiere ) krumps please if anyone knows it say what it is please please please please please

  • alanaj

    Bring it on all or nothing is da best movie i would watch it at least three times a day when i was sick. my mum bought me it for christmas and Gus carr is da hottest right now and i also know some of the hottest dance moves and i know wat thay say
    and can sum 1 tell me who sings how cool is that that song is on when brittany is driving to her new school

  • victoriaFERGUSON!

    GUS CARR IS THE HOTTEST GUY I EVER SAW !

    – ILOVEHIMM!<3

  • annmarie

    te movie is so sick i watched it on and on again i know the dance moves

  • Abby

    You know in bring it all or nothing when she arrives at the school her new one and the song she is listening to what is it called

  • shilpa

    heyy… the song the play while krumping…. i think its rize score suit- flii stylz & red ronin and ready for war- 50 cent….or both of them r used…. not sure though!!!!

  • Me

    Close, but no. It’s ‘Hype Up’ by Flii Stylz feat. Planet Asia.

  • lollynnish

    me and my friend really think it’s a good movie. We love Jesse (Gus Carr) to bits becoz he is HOT and has the best dance moves eva.
    luv u gusssssss
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Roses

    im in love wid gusss i wana marry himmmmm
    luv u bbbe

  • NISH NISH

    omg hes CUTE!!!
    That body of his lol
    Keep the looks GUS coz i’ll b waitin
    ND PPL I AM HIS REAL GIRLFRIEND SO BACK OFF.

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