The charming Kirsten Dunst imbues a spunky airhead cheerleader with a preternatural amount of life, humor, and compassion in this above-average teen sports comedy directed by Mr. Show refugee Peyton Reed. Bring It On may not have the satirical bite of such teen-competition classics as Smile (1975) and The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (1993), as some critics rightly complained. But what the movie lacks in teeth it more than makes up for in genuine empathy and good humor. Much of the film's success relies upon the inventiveness of the cast and Reed's loose, intuitive way with actors: a protracted, wordless toothbrushing scene between Dunst and love interest Jesse Bradford ranks as one of the summer of 2000's giddiest, most sublime movie moments. The plot follows the by-the-numbers underdog triumph model set by Hoosiers, Rocky, and countless other sports films, but there are enough wrinkles -- a proud, plagiarized competing team from East Compton being chief among them -- to keep the proceedings interesting.
by Michael Hastings review