2006 Running time: 103 Certificate: 12 Rating: 3

Synopsis

A scrape with the law lands teen rebel Haley (Missy Peregrym) back at the gymnastic academy where she once reigned supreme. She still scores a perfect ten for attitude, but her old coach (Jeff Bridges) reckons he can put the spring back into her faltering step. The rough-and-tumble is physical, verbal and comical in another energetic girls-on-top jamboree from the writer of cheerleader romp Bring It On.

Director

  • Jessica Bendinger

Cast

  • Jeff Bridges

  • Missy Peregrym

  • Vanessa Lengies

Review

"I'm so Sure, I'm practically deodorant"... "I have a constitutional right to bare arms"... "It's not called gym-nice-tics!"... "Pointy words are mouse turds"...

The actresses playing the gluttons for punishment at Jeff Bridges' gymnastic boot camp in this should thank their lucky stars that they land with less of a thud than writer-director Jessica Bendinger's one-liners.

As the writer of pompom-com Bring It On, Bendinger can claim some responsibility for Kirsten Dunst's rise to the top. She's done no such favours for these young ladies.

Particularly Missy Peregrym, a Hilary Swank clone whose path to stardom was already hobbled by her Harry Potter-goes-porno name.

Missy plays Haley, the archetypal female teenage mutineer: a pouting tomboy from a broken home who turned her back on her exceptional talent. (Psychiatric note: her gymnastic awards are defaced but still on display. Rebel without a spine?)

A radical bike escapade sees her ordered back to her former coach Bert Vickerman (Bridges, practically asleep) for rehabilitation. Soft on crime? Think again.

For one thing, the red-and-white colour scheme in Bert's gym is visual torture. It looks like a set from a low-fat spread advert.

Bert's training programme is even more painful. But it's nothing compared to the insufferable put-downs and airheaded inanities of current gym queen Joanne (Lengies). The thing is, Haley choked at the world championships. And Joanne is mean.

Being called "Pariah Carey" - hahaha... ha... ahem - goads Haley into action. Hitting the mats, vaults, beams, bars and ice-baths like Rocky in a leotard, her body is soon ready for any competition... but is her mind?

Bendinger handles sit-ups better than put-downs, but despite the many irritations - groan-inducing dialogue, the parallel bores that are Haley's male friends, and more 'devil horn' hand gestures than you'd see at a Slipknot gig - this is still a mildly diverting celebration of teen spirit.

On top of its ruder meaning, the title is also a gymnastic instruction to execute a perfect landing. In that sense, Stick It doesn't stick it. But it's worth sticking with.

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