Bring it On: All or Nothing
I have discovered the best way for an adult of a good number of decades behind to review a teen oriented flick, forget what an adult would look forward in a film and try as best as possible to see the film from the perspective of the target audience. This was how I was able to get through the third installment of the Bring it On series, All or Nothing. After all, the original film back in 2000 featured currently respected actresses like Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku and Gabrielle Union. So you can never be sure where a film like this may lead its cast. This is first and foremost a cheerleader film and should not be judged by any standards other than what is required for its specific genre.
Senior year has finally arrived for Britney Allen (Hayden Panettiere). This is the year of school that every teen looks forward to. Senior prom is looming near, other students are of lower social status and most importantly for Britney. She has reached the pinnacle of high school society, elected the captain of the Pacific Vista High cheerleaders. Such a position comes with its perks. She has the football star quarterback, Brad Warner (Jake McDorman), as a boy friend and an ever present entourage of sycophants to follow her everywhere. Naturally, as required by films like this everything cannot go well for the lamented Britney. When she gets home from school her parents call her to the side. They have some news for her, Britney’s father has lost his well paying job and they have to move to the much less prestigious Crenshaw Heights. Britney has a bit of a blond moment when she tells her parents that she will miss them. She actually thinks they are leaving the luxurious home to her while they move away. Once reality sets in Britney is despondent. The next day at school she relates her plight to her inner circle of fellow cheerleaders. Amber (Cindy Chiu) is the more level headed of the group. She tries to comfort Britney the best she can. Sierra (Jessica Nicole Fife) is sad to hear the news but her lack of intellect makes her the punch line of every blond joke ever written. On friend is happy to see Britney go. Second in command Winnie (Marcy Rylan), has always lost in every competition with Britney. Having her go finally provides Winnie a chance to take of the squad ad be queen bee. To make matters somewhat worse one of the last things Britney did as squad captain was to give in to pressure from Winnie and ride another cheerleader, Brianna (Danielle Savre). There is nothing like giving an already weight conscious teenage girl another reason to feel fat to provide a little guilt.
Britney’s first day at Crenshaw Heights is like totally her worst nightmare. She has gone from the safety of a upper middle class high school to an urban school. Of course that means that all of her new classmates are either African American or Latino. Britney is a stranger in a strange land and doesn’t like it one bit. The first bell has not even rung but Britney is already in a fight. She happens across the Crenshaw Heights cheerleader captain Camille (Solange Knowles) and her posses, the fiery Spanish girl Leti (Francia Almendarez) and the slightly overweight but hyper agile Kirresha (Giovonnie Samuels). The fight is interrupted before it can come to blows but Britney as left quite an impression with her new classmates. For Britney nothing is what it should be in her new school. The cafeteria food is far from the cuisine she is used to. In class the room is over crowded and she has to write everything from the board, there is a serious shortage of text books. Before she left Pacific Vista she promised Winnie and the others that she would never cheer again. To do so would make her a ‘cheer whore’, the worse thing a cheerleader could ever be. She does see the Crenshaw squad practice in the lunchroom and is impressed by their level of skill. Both schools are trying out for a televised spot hosted by the singer Rihanna. Now Britney must face a dilemma, try out for the Crenshaw squad or remain true to her old friends. The decision is pushed to some degree by one of the male cheerleaders, Jesse (Gus Carr) who immediately has a crush on Britney. She finally does join the squad since she is better than everyone else auditioning for the spot. Even Camille has to admit that Britney has moves. Britney discovers that Brad has be two timing her with Winnie, she introduces moves from a street dance format called Crumping and the final battle is eventually on.
Even from the perspective on my advanced age I have to admit that this film has energy. The dance moves are incredible to watch. The cast does well enough to balance acting and performing the elaborate stunts the role requires. Hayden Panettiere comes across as cute and vulnerable with a nice little touch of attitude. She has been a working actress most of her young life so she has the experience to pull of the story line parts of the role. Solange Knowles is known mostly for being the kid sister of the famous singer Beyoncé formerly of Destiny’s Child. She has the ability to pull of roles like this and should have a good career apart from her older sibling.
The direct to DVD release does meet what is required for the target audience. It has energy is massive amounts. The cheer numbers are nothing less than stunning to watch. It is almost unbelievable to see the girls thrown in the air, tumble around and move with perfect timing. The story lines that the film has does hold together as realistic and do more that just give a break from the action, the work as a film on their own. There are the usual themes for such flicks like betrayed love, back stabbing friends and racial conflict. Universal has done a lot to present this film on DVD. The video is excellent; the colors are bright and true with no sign of artifacts to be seen. The Dolby 5.1 audio is mixed on the loud side. The popular music pounds the speakers from the first moment to the last. For extras there are a number to keep the viewer entertained. Most of the featurettes detail just how much went into the amazing stunts and cheer numbers. There is a look a the cheerlead camp they had to go to, all the rehearsals required and for the cheerleader wannabe choreographer Tony G breaks down a number step by step. There is also a gag reel to round things off. As teen oriented flicks go this one is even alright for the adults and the film does make a worth while viewing for the whole family.