Making the Grades
Considering Bring It On dedicates a good portion of its script trying to convince us that cheerleading requires a great deal of skill, having Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) lose the top of her uniform (no nudity seen) during the movie's opening minutes does nothing to shake the sport's stereotype.
Apparently the tops-down experience is only Torrance's worst nightmare, brought on by the stress of becoming captain of Toro's cheering squad at Rancho Carne High School in San Diego's affluent suburbs. The former captain Big Red (Lindsay Sloane), who is retiring to college, leaves Torrance with an original routine and the responsibility of carrying on their five-time national champions title.
Enthusiastically accepting her new command, the perky blonde begins by holding tryouts. But when LA newcomer Missy (Eliza Dushku) auditions, she thinks she's experiencing deja vu. It seems Big Red got her dance inspiration for the Toro's by copying moves from a hip-hop squad called the Clovers in East Compton. With the Regional Championship around the corner, and the Nationals just weeks away, Torrance must decide what to do about the stolen choreography. Either face the wrath of the Clovers (who are too cash-strapped to compete anyway) or incur the anger of her own squad by introducing a whole new program.
For a teen film, Bring It On offers a surprisingly complex situation and doesn't include drugs, alcohol, or a prom scene. Torrance's supportive parents and desire to do the right thing are honorable, but these examples are punctuated with a typical locker room scene (everyone in bras and panties) and bikini-clad car washers (who make scrubbing a sensual experience). Even more concerning is a male squad member's thrill of having his fingers "slip" while lifting one of the girls. Such an act would be grounds for a sexual assault charge, yet in the movie it is met with laughter and no consequences.
And with all the short skirts and tiny tops, the film doesn't dispel enough of that cheerleader image to disappoint the teenaged hormonally charged boys in the audience.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Bring It On.
Torrance’s mother is concerned about her daughter’s slipping grades, and thinks she is spending too much time on cheerleading. Are her concerns justified? Is Torrance’s determination to excel in this area admirable? What future employment opportunities exist for professional cheerleaders or the skills required for the sport?
What do the attitudes displayed by Torrance’s boyfriend Aaron (Richard Hillman) and Missy’s brother Cliff (Jesse Bradford) indicate to us about their real personality traits and their true feelings toward Torrance? What signs in the early part of the movie did you see that would indicate Aaron’s real interest in Torrance?