Monday, December 17, 2007

Bring It On 4: In It to Win It DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Fourth Installment of Cheerleading Franchise Out on DVD

Seven years ago, Bring It On was the sleeper hit of the summer which kickstarted the careers of a couple of relatively-unknown actresses, Gabrielle Union and Kirsten Dunst. The pair squared-off as the captains their high school cheerleading teams, one, all-black and hailing from the ‘hood, the other, lily-white and located in the suburbs.
The film worked by creating a palpable tension between credible characters caught up in a realistic across the tracks drama. And although neither Union nor Dunst would reprise her role, the original was parlayed into a franchise which is presently releasing its third sequel on DVD.
Sadly, this installment is a pathetic rip-off which bears virtually no resemblance to the first, except that it revolves around cheerleading. It actually might have been better titled West Side Story 2, since the two squads have been renamed the Jets and the Sharks, and a boy from the former falls in love with a girl from the latter.
Strangely, despite the fact that during Bring It On 2 the kids entered college, they are somehow back in high school again, here. More curiously, the lead black character has been reduced to a one-dimensional, support role as a stereotypical sassy sister leveling threats like: “I will slice you like government cheese.”
Worse, she boasts about participating in drive-by shootings since she was a child. Then, worst of all, during the denouement, she reveals that she’s “been ‘hood ratting it up” because she’s “really an Oreo, black on the outside, but white on the inside.”
At this juncture, she is offered a shoulder to lean on by her suddenly-sympathetic, patronizing blonde adversary, who advises: “If you want respect that badly, just be a bitch.” I’m not even sure exactly what that exchange is supposed to mean.
The real question is how long will African-American females continue to be portrayed by Hollywood in such an offensive, demeaning, bizarre and degenerate fashion?

Poor (0 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, crude humor and suggestive content.
Running time: 90 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, “The Making of” and a few additional featurettes.

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