Stick It

Opens at Metro and others, Fri., April 28. Rated PG-13. 105 minutes.

Bring it on! No, wait . . . stick it! The difference between that cheerleader film's tag line and this one's is that it actually has significance in the hottie-filled world of competitive gymnastics. Writer-director Jessica Bendinger, who penned the surprise 2000 hit Bring It On, here introduces us to the story of these lithe, toned teen gymnasts, who train with tenacity and rigor comparable to Navy Seals. Some very hot, bitchy Navy Seals. They don't follow the rules, don't put up with their unstable parents, and certainly don't "stick it" if they don't want to. Well, at least one young athlete has this rebellious attitude, and the others eventually follow.

Ex-gymnast-turned-badass, heroine Haley is played by budding Canadian actress Missy Peregrym, apparently raised in a petri dish from DNA obtained from Hilary Swank. After too many run-ins with the law, she's sent to a boot-camp-style gymnastics school run by a has-been coach (Jeff Bridges). Her snappy one-liners and screw-the-world attitude are relatively believable at first. That she should end each routine with a final pose including the anarchy sign is just adorable and all, but after a few performances, we get the idea that, yes, she is a rebel.

Bridges tries to make the coach an overbearing perfectionist, but most of the time he just comes off as goofy. Wisely, he quickly surrenders and gets out of Peregrym's way. As for her rival gymnasts, they're only there to do back flips and snarl a line or two. Her big catfight is with a diva competitor (Vanessa Lengies), who matter-of-factly offers this diss: "Pariah Carey, I wonder why no one is scouting you." Meeeow. In the end, Peregrym leads a political rebellion against the sport's outdated and overly strict judging. It's like Braveheart in a leotard.

 
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