Stick It

Stick It


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

When Haley (Missy Peregrym), out playing on her mountain bike with friends, inadvertently crashes through a plate glass window, her time as a wild child has run out. This time the courts are serious. One option is prison. The other is to accept her father's offer and return to the gymnastics training which she dropped out of two years previously. This might sound like an easy ride, but Hayley knows the sport well enough to understand how punishing it can be; she's also suspicious of her new coach, Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges), who has a reputation for leaving his gymnasts with nasty injuries.

The plot of this feelgood teen drama is predictable enough. Haley and her coach initially square off against one another, only gradually coming to see the good in one another, and meanwhile Haley struggles to make friends and to cope with the bitchiness of other gymnasts in the school.

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Chief among these is Vanessa Lengies' Joanne, who starts out two dimensional but gradually develops a more complex character, a refreshing incident in this sort of film. Her sharp comic timing helps to keep the film afloat through otherwise dull sequences, though some of her lines are stupid enough to jar even with an audience which traditionally relishes stereotypes.

Overall, the script is not bad, but it fails to generate sparks when it really should and later sequences are padded with awkward filler dialogue. The film gives the impression of not really being sure where it wants to go.

The problem with sports movies, of course, is that it's difficult to find physically capable stars who can also act. In this regard, Stick It acquits itself better than most, though none of the supporting cast are exactly charismatic. As the film intercuts between its actresses and their stunt doubles, we see bodies metamorphose in peculiar ways.

Peregrym makes a convincing lead, and Bridges is dependable as ever in support, but it's difficult to feel very closely involved in their soft focus striving. Fortunately, there are some superb gymnastic sequences to step up the pace. These are beautifully directed, giving the impression that Bendinger really ought to be out there filming sports rather than telling mediocre stories about them.

Reviewed on: 04 Oct 2006
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A former gymnast turned delinquent is given the choice between prison and going back into training.
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Director: Jessica Bendinger

Writer: Jessica Bendinger

Starring: Missy Peregrym, Jeff Bridges, Vanessa Lengies, Nikki SooHoo, Maddy Curley

Year: 2006

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Germany, US


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