Stick It - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stick It Reviews

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January 5, 2018
This is a story about young women, who are in a very controlling and subjectively rated sport taking control and taking a stand in support of each other. This is one of my favorite movies.
November 19, 2017
This movie made my day!
October 18, 2017
Just in love with this movie.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2017
Female characters in sports films are often dealt a very poor hand. At best their narrative journey is frequently depicted as ancillary and largely complimentary to those of the male participants, and at worst they are reduced either to eye candy or to bitchily carping from the sidelines. Sports films which focus primarily on women are rare and often tackle a particular sport or discipline in a much more patronising way than if the same sport were being practised by men.

All of this makes Stick It such a refreshing piece of filmmaking. Jessica Bendinger, the writer of the cult classic Bring It On, steps behind the camera to deliver a film which rises above its more conventional aspects to give a valuable, impressive insight into a sport often reduced to empty stereotypes. It remains a hugely underrated teen comedy-drama with a young lead who deserves much greater recognition.

In my review of Gregory's Girl, I spoke about how coming-of-age films are "better remembered for the careers they launched rather than their artistic merits." Because the structure of coming-of-age stories is so predictable, we often find ourselves relying on the performers to help us through a story we could tell in our sleep. It's a blessing and a curse for the performers in question, who achieve immortality through a given role but at the cost that they can never escape being associated with it.

Like Phil Davis from Quadrophenia before her, it's fair to say that Missy Peregrym has yet to shake off the mantle associated with Stick It. Part of this could be attributed to her superficial resemblance to other actresses: from a distance you could easily mistake her for Kristen Stewart, and her toothy smile is very similar to that of Hillary Swank. In any case, Peregrym's lack of subsequent success is wholly unfair; she is a highly charismatic performer, with attitude, mischief and believability to spare.

Peregrym is helped in this regard by the writing, which is an improvement on Bendinger's previous work. In Bring It On, all of the female characters had a bitchy quality, and it was sometimes difficult to know whether said bitchiness was a satire of cheerleading or a lazy representation of it. While Stick It has its fair share of cattiness and name-calling, the women are much more varied in their make-up and motivations.

Writing convincing, three-dimensional female characters is one of the hardest things to do in fiction. Because men (or more specifically white, straight, English-speaking men) have long been the standard foundation for any given character, the obvious pitfall is to write women as 'not men', defining them entirely in terms of their relationship to men rather than treating them as people in their own right. This is a trap that male writers often fall into, but women can often be just as guilty.

This trap can partially be avoided by writing women as 'people who just happen to be female' - in other words, to ignore or dilute any aspects of their character which involve their gender or sexuality. But while this is preferable to writing women as 'not men', ultimately it is not enough to make them completely believable. Women, like men, are constantly interacting with the culture around them, and their identity is partially defined by a reaction to gender and social expectations derived from said culture. In other words, you have to reference their womanhood, even if only to challenge the expectations of how a woman should behave or be written.

What is so refeshing about Stick It is that is a film driven primarily by women which deals with their relationships to social standards without preaching or whinging. Even though its main character has a tendency to mope or run from her problems, it treats her like a complex, difficult human being rather than a trope for men to shape at will. Jeff Bridges may be the main big-name star but he's on screen for a relatively short amount of time, and even then he doesn't play as active a role as you might expect.

People often talk about women in film in terms of empowerment - the writers or directors getting women to do things that are either not normally associated with women or which they have been traditionally denied by men. A lot of the time this is presented in a clunky or confused way, such as the Bride in Kill Bill: it may be a woman doing all the fighting, but she's still fulfilling male fantasies about powerful women as much as being a strong, independent lady.

Stick It succeeds because it doesn't try to shove any message about women down our throats. It gets across a message about the absurdity and hypocrisy of professional gymnastics just as effectively as Smile did for the world of beauty pageants. But throughout its running time it is more interested in allowing women to speak for themselves and demonstrate their talents than it is about using them to make a point. In short, it's empowering because it doesn't constantly shout about empowerment.

Purely as a piece of physical spectacle, Stick It is pretty remarkable. Most of the main cast had little or no experience of professional gymnastics, and yet they vault, pirouette and twist like they had been rehearsing for the Olympics all their lives. Bendinger's visual style is less conventional than Bring It On's, relying much less on slow-motion or montage than most sports films. Even when it comes close to anything resembling a training montage, the film confounds our expectations by focussing on the painful failures of the characters rather than building up to any one success.

Stick It has a welcomely rough and funky edge to it, which at least makes it appear less conventional than similar coming-of-age stories. The film is shot by Daryn Okada, whose work is generally more plastic and mainstream: in amongst the very fine Mean Girls, he also lensed Lake Placid and American Reunion. The soundtrack compliments this vibe, ditching classical accompaniments usually associated with floor routines in favour of Missy Elliott, Green Day and Blink-182.

For the most part, Stick It is a film that refuses to play by the rules and more often than not pleasantly surprises us. But it does have some sequences where it comes up short, settling for convention when just a small step further would have made it truly great. While most of the character development is well-played, the film loses its step when one of the gymnasts gets a boyfriend; while it makes sense in terms of her character arc, the relationship isn't written as well as the rest of her character.

Likewise, the relationship between the lead character and her mother is underdeveloped. Many of the parents in the film are pushy stereotypes, reduced to unintentionally belittling their children and providing some rather forced comic relief. Ultimately it is not their story, and including them mainly for comic purposes is rather an underwhelming or cheap trick. This doesn't detail the drama, but it is a distraction.

Stick It is a hugely underrated slice of comedy-drama with some of the best-written female characters that the sports genre has to offer. Missy Peregrym shines in the lead role, with Jessica Bendinger maturing as a writer and proving that she has quite a bit to offer as a director too. While not quite groundbreaking enough to be considered great, it is a great deal more inspiring and surprising than many sports films you'll find, and comes with a very hearty recommendation.
November 20, 2016
11/18/2016: A likeable movie with a good cast.
November 12, 2016
This film takes me back to my angsty, defiant teenage years. Its a perfect portrait of the pain of adolescence. Its also a lot of fun. Realistically you can pick it apart if you want, but understanding that its a fun film, its silly and enjoyable and the stunts are cool enough to make you want to be a little bad ass. So if you have roughly 90 minutes and want an enjoyable film that isn't trying to win Academy Awards for substance, this is a perfectly good choice.
½ August 11, 2016
I didn't think Stick it was going to be a very good film considering it was from the same director that brought us Bring it On (2000) which sucked however I decided to watch the film and I am happy I did. I first thought that the film was going to be a drama with little to no comedic moments however I was surprised with the amount of comedic moments in the film. Jeff Bridges is one of my all time favorite actors and he stole the show as Burt Vickerman though Bridges has had better roles this was far from his worst performance. Another great performance was Missy Peregrym who played Haley the main character of the film, her performance was actually pretty good and that's not bad considering the fact that she's not a big named actress. Though Stick it has many comedic parts it still has a few dramatic parts in the film as well but honestly the films more of a comedy. Sure Stick it isn't a perfect film and does have a few flaws in it it is far from being a bad film, if you want a sports film that never takes itself seriously than I reccommend Stick it for you.
½ July 23, 2016
Just take it for what it is.
May 26, 2016
All time favorite movie of mine, one of the few movies I can watch over again and never get tired of it.
March 2, 2016
movie was amazing you should watch it
½ February 8, 2016
such a classic movie, brings me back to my gymnastics days. havent seen the actresses in anything since. I wonder what happened to them? i dont agree with the average rating of 4.9 its a 10 in my book. They stuck the landing with this one.
December 25, 2015
This movie is not a guy's movie. Don't watch it, but don't comment on it either. I think most females would get the serious side and the comedic side of this film. I loved it.
December 20, 2015
Best Movie in the world all you haters out there do your own thing and we will do ours just stay out of our shit and don't reply cause you are just haters and want to start some crap over a movie. everybody has a opinion let people express it without you being a total jackass and replying back and saying it is some bullshit cause its not what is some bullshit is the way that you treat people so do yourself a favor and just shut the hell up.
½ September 17, 2015
Just another teen,sloppy script movie.Will appeal to the under 20 crowd.
½ August 27, 2015
a stupid movie about a rebellious girl who is forced by t
he courts to go back to gymnastics. (lol)
July 31, 2015
For the most part, it sticks.
July 20, 2015
Maybe it's a heavy bout of nostalgia, but there is something, maybe everything, in this film that sticks.
June 19, 2015
Strong performances and a fun perspective on the world of gymnastics makes this one of my favorite sports movies.
April 12, 2015

Obviously, this movie gets my 5 Rose rating, cuz it's just that awesome!

~Plot: Jaded young chick, pissed at life and parental mistakes (who isn't?), has a run-in with the law (again) and is forced, by her father and a very wise old judge, to face her past. How can this NOT be interesting?! Add in fantastic gymnastics, bmx stunts, some snarky humor, laugh-out-loud (what, she spelled it out? Laaaame. Doesn't she know she can use the ridiculously overused "lol" catch-all thingy??) humor, and Jeff Bridges on a trampoline. Ooops! Gave that away. Shoot! Now you really wanna see it, donchya? *grins* I know, it's epic.

~Character/Actors: Aaaaawe-some!! I don't think they could have done any better with casting. Missy is, just, superbly fantastic. She nailed Haley's character, and gave an awesome performance.

Jeff Bridges is, well, a legend, and his films are generally always entertaining. His portrayal of Burt Vickerman was awesome, and really entertaining. He was also really believable, and I found myself wondering once "Did he used to be into gymnastics, because he seems like a natural with it all!"

Nikki SooHoo (who plays Wei Wei) is just phenomenal! She's hilarious, and I LOOOOOVE her dancing! She's an inspiration in herself, and her character could have it's own film.

Joanne Charis (played by Vanessa Lengies) is an awesome character! I love the changes she goes through, and how much she grows up throughout the film. All the girls do, really, but she grows more than most. Overcoming petty jealousy, and getting over being an immature brat is always something to applaud ;)

~Ending: *cries* It. Was. Awesome!! Such a great ending- I always get chills, butterflies, and tear up. I love when they all pull out their bra straps, and support their fellow gymnast. (What, did she say bra straps? WTF?!) YES! It's epic, and you must watch the film to find out what I'm talking about. It's awesome, trust me :)

Ok, do you need more reasons to watch this movie? You shouldn't but if you need even more convincing, here's something...

For all you Twilight lovers out there!! Did you miss it? Up in the film info ^^ there's an actor there you may want to see. Yes peeps, that's Kellan Lutz, the actor made famous by his muscles and "monkey-man" moves in the Twilight franchise, playing Emmett Cullen.

Well, in this film, you see him several years younger than the first Twilight film (2008), and he's just adorkable!!! He skateboards, does some awesome stuff on a bmx bike, and is hilarious around the gymnast chicks. He's a total bad-ass, and I adore his character. He rocks, his character rocks, just go watch it now.
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