Bring It On: All or Nothing

Reviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 08/09/06 19:27:02

"If those are my choices, I'll go with 'nothing.'"
1 stars (Sucks)

There was a point where the third movie in the “Bring It On” franchise was actually going to be titled “Bring It On Yet Again.” Wiser heads prevailed, but only to a point - while somebody was smart enough to change the title, nobody was smart enough to realize that we really don’t need another “Bring It On” movie.

The name of this new entry - the third in the series and the second to go straight to video - is “Bring It On: All or Nothing,” and if that sounds notably generic to you, then you’re on to the premise of the whole film. Like the title, the movie itself is filler that means nothing and goes nowhere. It’s filled with formulaic plot points, cheap dialogue, affordable young starlets (among them Beyoncé’s little sister), and a catchy pop soundtrack, all designed to fill ninety-some minutes and convince fans of the first movie to spend their hard-earned allowance on the DVD. This one comes to us from the director of “American Pie Presents: Band Camp,” which should tell you just how little energy went in to slapping this one together. Whip up a quickie story about cheerleaders, toss in a few memorable one-liners from the first movie (something about “cheerocracy”), rush it onto video store shelves, and enjoy medium profits from minimal effort.

For chapter three, the studio wheels in Hayden Panettiere, who plays Britney, the captain of her school’s cheerleading squad. All’s well in Britney’s world until mom and dad announce they’re moving. Not only is Britney no longer top dog, but now she’s stuck as the only white girl in an all-black school.

The rest of the story has her winning the respect of the black cheerleaders, falling for some cute guy, learning that her old friends are actually dimwits, and taking them on in some city-wide cheer-off hosted by MTV. Oh, and because “High School Musical” was such a hit for Disney earlier this year, we’re tossed a couple of big dance numbers (including a dream sequence) to please the kids. (In fact, “All or Nothing” is little more than a Disney Channel movie with a slightly bigger budget and a handful of unfunny sex jokes.)

Most peculiar about this film is how it trips over itself in trying to find its target audience. The one-dimensional plotting suggests a movie aimed at younger girls, while the sexual innuendo (and not-so-innuendo) suggests a movie aimed at older viewers. It’s a movie trapped in its own puberty, failing at pleasing audiences of any age, which, as an idea, is far more interesting than anything the rest of the movie has to offer - mainly, hyper-obnoxious characters, limp writing, boring direction, uninspired acting, and dance/cheer showdowns that never seem to capture the energy of such athletic performances.

Admittedly, I went in to this one with the lowest of expectations - I’m still baffled by the success of the first “Bring It On,” a movie so cloying and sloppy that it deserves a good beating, while the first sequel was equally awful. Universal now comes out 0-and-3, as my expectations for “All or Nothing” were properly met. There’s not a likeable character in the bunch, not an interesting scene, not a decent cheer routine. The racial subtext to the whole thing is a wee disturbing (Britney’s old friend turns out to be a nasty bigot), as is director Steve Rash’s decision to linger on the skimpy skirts and tight shirts. The rest is low-budget formula filler, the kind best left unrented. Hey, that could be Universal’s new motto!

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