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Her Best Move
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by Todd LaPlace

"Her Best Move; her average movie."
3 stars

I watch “Gilmore Girls” and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a great show. But like so many others, the cast is cursed when it comes to making the leap to film. Alexis Bledel did wonders in “Sin City,” and Lauren Graham’s foray into Vin Diesel territory is virtually unforgivable (we won’t even talk about Jared Padalecki and “House of Wax”). Perhaps that’s why I was so interested to see Scott “Luke” Patterson’s first film since the show started. Luckily, he manages to get away relatively cleanly as “Her Best Move” turns out to be a decent teen girl comedy.

If you think you despise soccer, there’s a good chance that Spin critic Chuck Klosterman hates it more than you. Potentially stemming from a collegiate experience where he was accused of libeling Pele (which he insists is serious), he wrote, “It’s not necessary to outlaw soccer as a living entity. I concede that it has a right to exist. All I ask is that I never have to see it on television, that it’s never played in public (or supported with public funding) and that nobody — and I mean nobody — ever utters the phrase ‘Soccer is the sport of the future’ for the next forty thousand years.” Personally, I can’t say that I disagree with him. I’ve played soccer and I’ve watched soccer, so when it comes to soccer, I think I’m pretty much set.

But you know who does love soccer? Teen comedy directors, especially those directing primarily for girls. “Bend it Like Beckham” obviously has an excuse — it’s British and actually about “football” — but what about “She’s All That”? Or “10 Things I Hate About You”? Or “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”? The latest edition to this list is “Her Best Move,” a movie that’s so obsessed with soccer that the lead, 15-year-old Sara (Leah Pipes), actually has a shot at making the U.S. national team. If soccer is cool to teenage girls, then prepare to meet the Miles Davis of teen comedies meant for girls that include at least some reference to soccer. (But shhh! Don’t tell first-time director/co-screenwriter Norm Hunter and co-writer Tony Vidal that we hate soccer. It’ll just hurt their feelings.)

Despite being about the second dullest sport imaginable (sorry basketball fans, but your sport blows), “Her Best Move” is still a sweet, if trite and predictable, story that’s sure to entertain its primary audience. Sara’s a sophomore in high school, but she’s a virtual unknown with her peers thanks to her father’s (“Gilmore Girls’s” Scott Patterson) rigid training schedule, since he’s convinced that she’s a shoo-in. Her mom Julia (frequent TV guester Lisa Darr), however, is more concerned with Sara living a normal teenage life. When her daughter gets home from a game — Julia has stopped going to games because of her husband’s rabid intensity — Julia asks, “Did you have fun?”, a question that Sara can’t answer.

While mom fails to open Sara up to the rest of teen life, best friend Tutti (Lalaine) has convinced her to join a dance class where she notices photographer Josh (Drew Tyler Bell), her requisite love interest. Despite the trend being mocked mercilessly in “Not Another Teen Movie,” Josh is forced to look past her ugly jock shell — she’s got a ponytail, so she must be hideous — to find the regular girl underneath. But between him, Tutti, dancing, soccer and parents that barely speak anymore, her overloaded plate inevitably — surprise, surprise — comes crashing down. But at least her breakdown is set to Hilary Duff and Bangles songs. After all, how else will Sara know that everyone’s got Manic Mondays?

But even with the hackneyed story, “Her Best Move” deserves credit for chasing the elusive teen girl market, and for largely succeeding in its efforts. Lalaine, best known as Duff’s best friend on “Lizzie McGuire” should attract tween fans, while Patterson, who seems to be perfecting his wildly unlikable, but totally lovable “Gilmore Girls” persona here, will bring in the older teens. Once they’re in, the strong, but vulnerable, female lead and her sensitive love interest should be enough to keep them there. Pipes, who often plays like a mini Amanda Bynes without the goofy charm, has a relatable demeanor that sets her apart from her more annoying, ubiquitous counterparts like Duff and Lindsay Lohan. “Her Best Move” may not be as slick as others by those girls, but it’s a sweet, solid movie that nearly every teen girl will enjoy.

So now that Luke’s gotten a movie, can I put in a request now for a Melissa McCarthy movie? Or a Keiko Agena movie? Or even a Liza Weil movie? I don’t care. I’m not picky. Please? Pretty please?

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15468&reviewer=401
originally posted: 11/10/06 17:30:01
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2007 Florida Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/24/10 vanessa since i just joined soccer i would say its a excellent movie for teens and kids. 5 stars
2/02/09 sandra kizer not suitable to watch we need our children to watch shows with better character 2 stars
7/31/07 becca fantastic movie, i learnt some skills of sara so i can do them on the football pitch. 5 stars
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  17-Oct-2006 (G)
  DVD: 19-Aug-2008



Directed by
  Norm Hunter

Written by
  Norm Hunter
  Tony Vidal

  Leah Pipes
  Scott Patterson
  Lisa Darr
  Drew Tyler Bell
  Daryl Sabara

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