Sunny, happy Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) is the new leader of the Toros, the cheerleading squad of Rancho Carne, an affluent San Diego high school that has lousy football players but one hell of a cheerleading team. National champions, they're the ones who bring in the bodies to the football games with their award-winning moves and sassy grace, and they're poised to take their sixth national cheer title. Torrance's new reign as cheer queen, though, is cut short when she discovers that her snotty, duplicitous forerunner was regularly stealing routines from the East Compton Clovers, the hip-hop influenced cheerleaders of a poor inner city school, and passing them off as the original work of the Toros. Scrambling to come up with a new routine for the Toros-and do the right thing by giving the Clovers their due-Torrance butts heads with the proud and understandably wary Isis (Gabrielle Union), the leader of the Clovers, who wants nothing to do with a rich blond white girl, but does want to get her squad to the championships. Problem is, only one team can take home the national title. Who's it gonna be?
An unexpected box-office hit in the late summer of 2000, Bring It On is a smart, snappy teen comedy that bristles with good cheer (literally) and lively, down-to-earth characters. The story may be fairly predictable (who's going to win the big championship?), but director Peyton Reed and screenwriter Jessica Bendinger have fleshed out their characters with formidable strength and provided them with sharp dialogue. Dunst is a radiant comedian, projecting warmth, determination, sincerity, and a sublime air headedness, and Union is an impressive dancer and counterpart to Dunst, matching her admirably despite her limited onscreen time. An excellent young supporting cast rounds out the film, most notably Eliza Dushku (Faith of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Jesse Bradford (Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill) as siblings new to Rancho Carne, who become Torrance's best friend and potential new boyfriend, respectively. All in all, a pleasantly surprising and intelligent teen movie. Don't miss the opening sequence, a hilarious send-up of all those high school cheerleading routines you had to sit through at boring pep rallies.