DVD Review: Stick It
Release Date: September 19, 2006
· Jessica Bendinger
· Jeff Bridges
· Missy Peregrym
· Vanessa Lengies
· Jon Gries
· Gia Carides
· Julie Warner
· IMDb: Stick It
· Cinema Spider: Stick It
by R.J. Carter
Published: September 19, 2006
"Stick It" markets itself as a film for female adrenaline junkies who enjoyed "Bring it On". But this tale of teenaged rebellion remains too light and fluffy, and does so for far too long, to be a really enjoyable flick.
Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym, Smallville) is a "sk8r grrl" with a penchant for getting into trouble with the law. When her latest backyard X-Games result in damages in excess of $10,000, Judge Westreich (Polly Holliday, Alice, Flo) sentences Haley to either military academy or VGA -- the Vickerman Gymnastics Academy. Haley chooses military academy, but her father (Jon Gries, "Napoleon Dynamite", The Pretender) makes the decision for her. VGA it is.
Now what you don't know about Haley at this point is that she was once a world class gymnast, with a shot at the Olympics. But at the world final competitions, she walked out at the last minute, and her teammates went from collecting gold to collecting mold. So Haley is pretty hated in the gymnastics community.
What you also need to know is that Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges, "Seabiscuit"), head of the VGA, has a track record of his gymnast team gathering more injuries than trophies. He was a gymnast himself until his body gave out on him finally. As such, he now trains his gymnasts to perform nice, safe, executable routines -- nothing that is going to get them killed.
And if it's not dangerous, it's not good enough for Haley. She trains on her own, away from the rest of the girls until she gets back into top form, outperforming even the airheaded darling of the academy, Joanne (Vanessa Lengies, American Dreams), who comes out with lines like, "Dogs are people too," and "GED? What's drunk driving got to do with school?"
So the film is about Haley getting her act together and pulling off some really killer gymnastics moves, and taking her underdog team to the Olympics, right? Right?
Wrong. Instead of this being about Haley introducing street moves to the naive, instead of this being about a glorious victory vindicating Burt's history, what we ultimately have is an us-versus-them, with us being the gymnasts and them being the judges. Because of Burt's history, even the greatest looking performances are given less than impressive scores, and for the most subjective of reasons. So when Haley's friend Mina (played by real life gymnast Maddy Curley) is docked for flimsy reasons, Haley goes out and intentionally scratches (as in billiards, not as in itch relief.) The other girls take up her example, and a precedent is set; all the girls intentionally take a zero, and Mina's score gets the gold anyway.
Coach and student square off in Touchstone's "Stick It"
(L-R) Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym
©2006 Kaltenbach Pictures GmbH & Co. All Rights Reserved
It's "Eight Men Out", gymnastics-style, as the competitors begin deciding who the best is, not the judges, in the rest of the events. There are some other subplots, of course, dealing with Haley's original reason for walking out of the world finals, as well as Joanne's first experience with dating boys instead of being a full-time gymnast. But those subplots are thin, and the best bits of the film are -- as is the case with many films -- the bits that were excised for the advance trailers.
There are two sets of commentaries with this film; the first with Director Jessica Bendinger, joined by Peregrym and Lengies, the other with Bendinger, with cinematographer Daryn Okada and editor Troy Takaki.
Additional bonus features include thirteen minutes of deleted scenes (with optional commentary by cast or crew), three and a half minutes of bloopers and outtakes. There's a four-minute segment showcasing the real gymnasts of "Stick It", showing each actress's stand-in and set to musical routines. You also get to see the full routines from Nastia Liukin, Isabelle Severino, and Anie Gagnon. Finally, there are two "Stick It" related music videos: "We Run This" by Missy Elliott, and "Crowded" by Jeannie Ortega with Papoose.
Audio is available in English, Spanish or French, with optional subtitles for each.
Previews on this disc include "Goal: The Dream Begins", and Grey's Anatomy - Complete Second Season Uncut.