Stick It

on April 28, 2006 by Tim Cogshell
"Stick It" is a strange bird. It's a sports movie with no real rivalries and in which everyone wins. More or less. In any case, this girl-power tale is about a 16-year-old rebel, Haley (Missy Peregrym), who has a run-in with the law and is sentenced to an elite gymnastics camp run by a slick has-been trainer named Vickerman (played by Jeff Bridges, who's just wandering through this movie on his way to a real movie). Years earlier, before she became a troublemaker, Haley walked off the gymnastics mat without competing, costing her team a shot at the gold. She's been a pariah in the sport ever since. In some ways she's been walking away from life ever since.

If this sounds like an old ABC After-School Special, it certainly could be. The hook is that writer/director Jessica Bendinger (scripter of "Aquamarine," "First Daughter" and "Bring it On") is not interested in the standard paradigm for youth-oriented sports flicks. While the script feigns the obvious "rival gymnasts" storyline, in fact the bad guys are the judges at the elite gymnastic competitions. This is apparently an actual issue in the sport. Shocking! That part will only be interesting to audience members belonging to twitchy, dysfunctional sports families. On the other hand, anyone can enjoy the cool gymnastics, particularly a couple of training numbers shot Busby Berkeley-style from a bird's-eye-view. Starring Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, Vanessa Lengies, Nikki SooHoo, Maddy Curley and Kellan Lutz. Directed and written by Jessica Bendinger. Produced by Gail Lyon. A Buena Vista release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for some crude remarks. Running time 105 min

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