The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Stick It’ DVD stumbles, bumbles to perfect zero

Marty Schroeder | Monday, April 2, 2007

Why famed actor Jeff Bridges ever decided to act in the girl-power, gymnastics-themed “Stick It” is a question that will never be answered. The delinquent-turned-athletic star plot has been around the street more times than can be counted – and this time its gymnastics instead of cheerleading, softball or the myriad of sports they’ve picked to make similar films.

“Stick It” stars Missy Peregrym as the middle-finger-in-the-air, punk rocker Haley Graham who enrolls in a prestigious gymnastics school after getting in trouble with the law. The dramatic conceit twists when it’s revealed she’s a former gymnastics star who walked out of the world championships dooming the American team to infamy. The problem is those with a sense of musical history will recognize the producers pulled out every stereotypical punker t-shirt they could find to make Graham seem more “rebellious.” Instead, it only comes across as completely ridiculous and Graham seems more cliché than character.

Jeff Bridges, who has no business being in a film like this, plays Graham’s gymnastics coach Burt Vickerman – a rough rebel coach who eschews rules in favor of punchy and new routines. Bridges immortal ‘The Dude’ from “The Big Lebowski” is nowhere to be found here. He performs Vickerman well, but it does not come close to the other roles he’s played. They say all actors make bad films – “Stick It” most certainly counts as one for Bridges.

Other than the two aforementioned characters, “Stick It” is filled with cookie-cutter high school guys, gymnast girls who swoon around guys, dumb blondes, bitchy brunettes and a host of stereotypes who run around the movie like a virus destroying any credibility the film still maintained.

Written by Jessica Bendinger, who wrote the tween-flick “Aquamarine” and the cheerleading epic “Bring It On,” “Stick It” marked her directorial debut – and she does both equally ineptly. With too many I-hate-my-parents style quips from Graham and too much I’m-the-wise-coach-listen-to-me sagacities from Bridges, the dialogue sounds forced and the direction stilted.

This isn’t to say “Stick It” has no redeeming qualities. The routines the gymnasts (or their stunt doubles) perform really are sights to behold. While not a documentary about gymnastics training, “Stick It” does give a flavor of the grueling training it takes to be a world-class gymnast, and a certain well of appreciation springs up for competitors who represent their countries at athletic competitions.

The DVD is a single-disc edition that includes the film and little beyond one extra that showcases the gymnasts’ stunt doubles in the film. Also, the commentaries on the DVD are somewhat insightful, but a film that was poorly executed will not have much to say. There are deleted scenes and two music videos – hardly anything valuable.

“Stick It” is not a good film – it is a film that has a positive message and showcases some amazing gymnastic talent. Some of the routines are mind-blowingly good, while almost all of the acting is mind-blowingly bad.

A film like this will never see any more treatment beyond its single-disc barebones DVD. Your little sister might like it, but you should stick it to the movie studios by not buying it and keep them from ever releasing a film like this again.