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Universal Studios Home Video presents
Bring It On (2000)

"I'm sexy!/I'm cute!/I'm popular to boot!/I'm bitchin'!/Great hair!/The boys all like to stare!"
- Toros' Cheerleading Squad

Review By: Robert Mandel   
Published: February 27, 2001

Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushko, Jesse Bradford, Gabrielle Union
Other Stars: Clare Kramer, Nicole Bilderback
Director: Peyton Reed

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (sex-related material and language [despite Roger Ebert])
Run Time: 01h:38m:39s
Release Date: February 13, 2001
UPC: 043396012851
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+AA- A+

DVD Review

As I told Peyton Reed in our interview, I went into Bring It On with low expectations. After all, this is a cheerleading movie, right? Right. But BIO surprised me for two reasons: first, it is a quirky, very funny teen comedy, influenced by the films of John Hughes, amongst others; second, it really showcases the athleticism necessary to perform national championship caliber cheer routines. Reed follows the basic formula that made potentially marginal movies into crowd pleasers: have the story surrounded by some kickass routines choreographed to put warmth, cheer and awe into the spectator. Saturday Night Fever, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Footloose - even the current box office ranker, Save the Last Dance - fall into this category. What this movie has over those movies, however, is some solid performances, topped by the excellent portrayal of the new cheerleading squad captain by teen knockout, Kirsten Dunst, and the fact that director Reed handles Jessica Bendinger's funny script adroitly, in his tongue-in-cheek comedic style.

Bring It On is the story of Torrance Shipman (Dunst), who discovers upon her election to captain of the 5-time National Champion Toros that her predecessor had stolen their medal-winning routines from a nearby African American high school squad, the East Compton Clovers, led by Isis (Gabrielle Union—Love & Basketball, 10 Things I Hate About You). The film brushes over the racial issues here, instead pursuing the competition between the squads as a focal point instead. One can bemoan the fact that these issues are basically ignored, but to ride that horse is to drag this film out of its comedic element where it need not go. With the Regionals a short time away, Torrance is now stuck trying to juggle the responsibility of finding a new "authentic" routine for the Toros to perform, holding off a cheer coup, dealing with a hilarious but obnoxious little brother, and a new love interest in fellow cheerleader Missy's brother (Jesse Bradford).

Part of what makes the film work, aside from the horny boy recipe of cute chicks in their underwear cracking sex jokes, is the soundtrack music, assured to make even the biggest couch potato a dancing fool. The snappy original music is done by Christophe Beck, and songs include the work of Clovers' actors Fears, Reed, Williams of the music group Blaque. Reed even manages to sneak in a song by his own musical group.

The interaction between the characters is often hilarious and sexy, the latter of which inspired critic Roger Ebert into a diatribe about the corrupted morality of the MPAA and Hollywood (Full text). I'll admit, as a father of a 14-year-old girl I got a little sweaty watching this with her, but Reed is correct in his assertion that 13-year-olds speak like this, and are hormonally-imbalanced, growing, sexual creatures, and to deny such is definitely to be lost to reality. Roger can rue the falling morality of our society, and I won't entirely argue his point, but I was thirteen 23 years ago and I hate to say it, Roger, but we were swearing, talking about and having sex back then in "them good ol' days." The nice thing about DVDs is that you can choose whether or not the film is suitable for your teenager, and even keep them away through the use of the parental lock. In fact, DVDs might just be the saviour of our dying morality.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Down-converted from a High Def master supervised by Reed and the Director of Photography, this is another topnotch transfer by Universal. Colors are vivid and sharp, a sincere necessity for this film. Shadow delineation and black level is superb, and the overall detail of this transfer is consistent throughout. The source print is very clean, as one would expect from a film from just last year. I did experience minor aliasing on my 4:3, and minor grain and dot crawl on a couple of occasions. Overall, a very nice job.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: While the majority of the film is anchored to the center speaker, as one would think a comedy might, the rest of the audio track is not shy to say the least. The music mix is aggressive, utilizing the rear surrounds and even awakening the LFE, particularly on the DTS track. Echoes in the gym during tryouts are natural and effective, as are several other instances of the surround mix. The fun and interesting use of sound transitions zip around the room, waking up the sleeping morals in the crowd. Both the DD5.1 and DTS tracks are comparable, with the latter a tad more crisp and louder.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring October Sky, Reality Bites, The Skulls
10 Deleted Scenes
Production Notes
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Peyton Reed
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. As If music video by Blaque
  2. Home movie of the car wash scene
  3. Wardrobe and Make-up tests
  4. Animated anecdotes (notes about the film)
  5. Extended Scenes
Extras Review: There is almost too much stuff on this disc, and most of it is worthwhile. It's nice to have a director that is a fan of our favorite little medium, who pursues stockpiling the supplements.

Deleted Scenes
Director Payton Reed does on-camera lead-ins explaining why each of the included 10 scenes has been deleted, preferring this method over making the user have to play each clip twice (once without and once with the commentary). I am in general agreement that this method works better for shorter deleted scenes, but extended deleted, such as on another directing comer, Keith Gordon's Waking the Dead, the ability to watch the scene then repeat with commentary worked fine. Chapter stops are missing, but the user can skip scenes using the fast forward.

Extended Scenes
The title alludes to 3 extended scenes shown: an extended one-shot take of the locker room scene, along with a couple of outtakes showing why it couldn't be done, the "stripper" and "spirit stick" scenes. Again, introduced by Reed in his all too serious manner.

Never-Before-Scene home video of the Car Wash scene
Peyton may not have shot his Super 8mm movie feigning his lifelong ambition to make a cheerleader movie, but someone took some extras behind-the-scenes and while filming footage of this scene. For the horny guys.

Wardrobe and Make-up Tests
Who would have thought that these tests could be amusing? Not me. But they are. Set to the film's opening cheerleader song, this is the stuff of outtakes.

Do you know that? Universal's animated anecdotes
Pop-up windows do just that, pop-up through out the film when turned on, explaining stuff or being cute and informative. A nice extra á la Ghostbusters.

A single well done trailer for Bring It On, as well as trailers for October Sky, Reality Bites, and The Skulls.

Production Notes
Even these notes amused me. How many times do the words "guys wanting to get laid" show in this part of the disc? Hmm? Well, it gets more serious after that. I am not mentioned.

Cast and Filmmakers
The entire cast and crew is mentioned here... no, not really. Just the big shots. I'm not mentioned here either. Perhaps on Peyton's next film.

DVD-ROM Features and Newsletter
Come on. Does anybody really go here? Who has that kind of time?

Spotlight on Location Featurette
A cute, approximately 12-minute featurette includes cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, mixed with promotional snippets.

Feature-length Director's Commentary
The highlight of the disc is director Peyton Reed's commentary. A fan of commentaries dating back to his LaserDisc collection, Peyton truly understands the point of the commentary, keeping the pace and then some. I kidded Peyton that it seemed he was on a "lot of coffee," but his energy is simply at that high a level....after all, he is an ex-band geek! His commentary is mostly screen-specific without repeating the goingson on-screen, while blending in both behind-the-scenes and making-of information with tongue firmly planted in cheek. His reference to his wife during the National Championship shots (she plays a judge) is a crack-up, and one can only be astonished that Peyton is still married. His improvisational style over the ending credits (past the blooper montage) is well worth hanging on until the disc flips to the DVCC screen. Very, very funny.

Closed Captioning subtitles in English
Wait, sorry. My apologies to Peyton, but, as usual, the English subtitles are my favorite supplemental feature on the disc. In his defense, however, I'm pretty sure Peyton supervised the coloring and placement of the subtitles, as well as the font and type size. Thank god for Peyton, friend to DVDers everywhere (or at least in region 1).

Extras Grade: A+


Final Comments

A mix of Clueless and Fame (with a bit of Rocky thrown in for good measure), Bring It On is a fun satire on the high school experience that also legitimizes cheering as a sport. If you don't think so, I'm coming over to make you perform some of these maneuvers in your front yard where your neighbors can join me in laughter. Quit looking for deep meaning (Peyton "Cramdened" when I jokingly asked him for it), just sit back and enjoy....well try to sit back.

Pssst. It's a nice disc, too. Highly recommended. Just not for the Moral Majority. (You morals can check out one of our opera disc reviews.) And besides, Peyton can use your money.


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