Bring It On (film)

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Bring It On
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peyton Reed
Produced by Marc Abraham & Thomas Bliss
Written by Jessica Bendinger
Starring Kirsten Dunst
Eliza Dushku
Jesse Bradford
Gabrielle Union
Clare Kramer
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography Shawn Maurer
Edited by Larry Bock
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • August 25, 2000 (2000-08-25)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $28 million
Box office $90,449,929[1]

Bring It On is a 2000 American teen comedy film that was directed by Peyton Reed and written by Jessica Bendinger. It was followed by four direct-to-video sequels, none of which contain any of the original cast members: Bring It On Again (2004), which shared producers with the original, Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006), Bring It On: In It to Win It (2007), and Bring It On: Fight to the Finish (2009).

The plot of the film centers on Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst), who inherits the position of captain on her high school's cheerleading squad and attempts to lead her team to a sixth national title. However, Torrance is informed by the newest team member, Missy Pantone (Eliza Dushku), that she's in possession of a stolen routine. When the originators of the work vow to win, Torrance and her squad must go to different lengths in order to create an original performance.

Bring It On was released in theaters in the North America on August 25, 2000. The film received mostly positive reviews, with some critics praising its light nature and humorous take on its subject and others criticizing the conventional and formulaic plot. Bring It On earned a worldwide gross of approximately $90 million, which was considered a financial success. Since its release, the film has become a cult classic.


Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) anxiously dreams about her first day of senior year. Her boyfriend, Aaron (Richard Hillman), has left for college, and her cheerleading squad, the Toros, is aiming for a sixth consecutive national title. Torrance is elected to replace the team captain, "Big Red" (Lindsay Sloane), who is graduating. Soon, however, Carver (Bianca Kajlich) is injured and can no longer compete. Torrance replaces her with Missy Pantone (Eliza Dushku), a gymnast who recently transferred to the school with her brother Cliff (Jesse Bradford). Torrance and Cliff develop a flirtatious friendship. After watching the Toros practice, Missy realizes the squad has been copying routines from a rival team that her previous high school competed against. She drives Torrance to Los Angeles, where they watch the East Compton Clovers perform routines that are virtually identical to their own team's. Isis (Gabrielle Union), the Clovers' team captain, angrily confronts the two. Torrance learns that "Big Red" regularly attended the Clovers' practices to videotape and steal their routines.

Isis informs Torrance of her plans to defeat the Toros at the regional and national championships, which the team has never attended due to their economic hardship. When Torrance tells the Toros about the routines, the team still votes in favor of using the current routine to win; Torrance reluctantly agrees. At the Toros' next home game, Isis and her teammates show up and perform the Toros' routine in front of the whole school, humiliating them. The Toros realize that they have no choice but to learn a different routine. In desperation, they employ a professional choreographer named Sparky Polastri to provide one, as suggested by Aaron. But at the Regionals, the team scheduled immediately ahead of the Toros performs the exact routine they had been practicing. The Toros have no choice but to perform the very same routine. After the debacle that ensues, Torrance speaks to a competition official and is told Polastri provided the routine to several other teams in California. As the defending champions, the Toros are nevertheless granted their place in the Finals, but Torrance is warned that a new routine will be expected. Torrance, crushed by her failure to lead the team successfully, considers quitting.

Cliff encourages and supports her, intensifying their growing attraction. Aaron, however, suggests that she is not leadership material and recommends that she step down from her position. When Cliff sees Torrance and Aaron together, he angrily severs his friendship with Torrance, to her distress. But her confidence is renewed by Cliff's encouragement and she convinces her unhappy team to create an innovative, new routine instead. She breaks up with Aaron, realizing his infidelity and his inability to be supportive, but Cliff still refuses to forgive her. Meanwhile, the Clovers are initially unable to compete at Nationals due to financial problems. This prompts Torrance to get her dad's company to sponsor the Clovers, but Isis rejects the money and gets her team to Nationals by appealing to a talk show host who grew up in their area. In the finals, the Toros place second, while the Clovers win. However, at the end of the movie, Torrance and Isis find respect in each other, and Cliff and Torrance share a romantic kiss.



Bring It On was produced by Marc Abraham & Thomas Bliss. It was the debut film of director Peyton Reed. His major concern with the film was pushing the sexual aspects of cheerleading without losing a PG-13 rating.[2] Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times argued that this agenda followed a trend of films at the time that watered down material in order to avoid an R rating and increase box office gross.[3]

Prior to auditioning for the film, actors were expected to have a cheer prepared.[4] In order to avoid the use of stunt doubles, Reed required all the actors to undergo a four week cheerleading camp.[4] Reed and Gabrielle Union met numerous times to discuss the best way to approach her character.[4] "I think she was able to find what was cool about that character that in a way I doubt other actresses could have," Reed explained in an interview, "Whenever she's on the screen she has this charisma."[4] When editing the film, Reed and editor Larry Bock watched cheerleading exploitation films from the 1970s.[2]

The film included a short glimpse of actual national champions Bishop Blanchet High School Saints (from Seattle) in the scenes at the regional competition and at the nationals.


Box office[edit]

Bring It On was released in North America on August 25, 2000. The film grossed $17,362,105 in 2,380 theaters during its opening weekend, ranking first at the North American box office.[5] Although it experienced an 18% decline in gross earnings, the film held the top position for a second consecutive week, and later on a third.[5] The film went on to gross $68,379,000 in North America and an additional $22,070,929 overseas for a total gross of $90,449,929.[1]


Many critics felt the film displayed the comedic talent of Dunst.

Bring It On received mixed reviews. The film received a 64% 'Fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on a total of 116 compiled reviews, with the consensus being "Despite the formulaic, fluffy storyline, this movie is surprisingly fun to watch, mostly due to its high energy and how it humorously spoofs cheerleading instead of taking itself too seriously."[6] In comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film an average score of 52 based on 31 reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[7]

A. O. Scott from The New York Times commended the film for being able to "gesture toward serious matters of race and economic inequality", as well as for its "occasional snarl of genuine satire".[8] Kevin Thomas of The Los Angeles Times also favored the film, calling it a "Smart and sassy high school movie that's fun for all ages."[7] Steven Rae from The Philadelphia Inquirer found it to be a "likable, low-budget high school comedy."[7] Meanwhile, Kim Morgan of The Oregonian dubbed it the "newest, and probably first, true cheerleading movie."[7]

However, some reviewers criticized the plot of the film. Although David Sterritt of The Christian Science Monitor gave praise for the writing, he likened the storyline's simplicity to that of "the average football cheer".[7] Kim Edwards from the Chicago Tribune, in a negative review, found the film "Absurdly unrealistic at times."[7] The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Paula Nechak concluded that the film was "predictable and surprisingly confusing in its ultimate message. "[7]

Many critics reserved praise for Kirsten Dunst's performance. In his review, A. O. Scott called her "a terrific comic actress, largely because of her great expressive range, and the nimbleness with which she can shift from anxiety to aggression to genuine hurt."[8] Charles Taylor of Salon noted that "among contemporary teenage actresses, Dunst has become the sunniest imaginable parodist."[9] Jessica Winter from The Village Voice shared this sentiment, commenting that "[Dunst] provides the only major element of Bring It On that plays as tweaking parody rather than slick, strident, body-slam churlishness."[10] Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle, despite giving the film an unfavorable review, commended Dunst for her willingness "to be as silly and cloyingly agreeable as it takes to get through a slapdash film."[11]

Cultural historian Maud Lavin says that despite Bring It On's predictable plot, its depiction of aggressive and competitive women, the differences shown between class and race, and the playful way it deals with homophobia gives it deeper cultural clout and meaning. In particular, Lavin says that the film suggests race relations could be "smoothed and transcended through level-playing-field sports competitiveness."[12]


The film ranked #30 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[13] Initially unimpressed with the film, Roger Ebert later referred to it as the "Citizen Kane of cheerleader movies."[14]

Cultural impact[edit]

Outside of the United States, American-style cheerleading is sometimes referred to as Bring It On-style cheerleading.[15]

Several of cast members from the Bring It On film franchise have gone on to greater fame or notoriety. Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Gabrielle Union, Jesse Bradford, Clare Kramer, Lindsay Sloane, and several others from the original film were already notable entertainers and television actors or have grown into such roles since their participation in the original film. Ryan Drummond also voiced Sonic the Hedgehog (character) from 1999 through 2004, Bethany Joy Galeotti and Hayden Panettiere, who appeared in Bring It On Again and Bring It On: All or Nothing, also went on to find sizable television audiences due to their roles on the television programs One Tree Hill and Heroes, respectively. Galeotti also appeared with Michael Copon (who co-starred in In It to Win It) during One Tree Hill '​s second season. Michael Copon also starred in Power Rangers Time Force. The R&B/Pop trio Blaque have a recurring role in Bring It On. Noteworthy R&B singer and film actress Christina Milian also appears as the main character in Fight to the Finish. Brittany Anne Pirtle (who appeared in Bring It On: Fight to the Finish) went on to star as the Yellow Power Ranger in Nickelodeon's Power Rangers Samurai.

2009's Fired Up features a scene where the kids at the cheerleading camp watch a screening of Bring It On and speak the dialogue verbatim as it's being said on screen, a humorous allusion to the film's cult status among cheerleaders.


Bring It On has so far spawned a total of four direct-to-video sequels:

The only sequel to feature any of the original crew from Bring It On was 2004's Bring It On Again, which shared the film's same producers. These producers did not return for the subsequent sequels, and none of the films share recurring cast members. Original star Eliza Dushku has even been quoted in interviews as never even having been invited to participate in the sequels. Steve Rash also directed two of the sequels. Otherwise, none of the films in the Bring It On franchise share any personnel whatsoever.

The four films that follow Bring It On share only tenuous links with one another. The plot of each film typically follows that of the one originally laid out in the first film of competing cheerleading teams who have to change routines or other elements they had grown accustomed to in order to win. Again and All or Nothing also stylistically referenced the original film in that all three featured outtakes and the cast having fun singing and dancing during the end credit sequence. Bring It On: All or Nothing also referenced the original film by opening with the main character's musical dream sequence. All four of the sequels share the element of the movie starting with the main character having a cheer themed dream that quickly becomes a nightmare.

Stage musical[edit]

A stage version of the film premiered at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia on January 16, 2011. The musical has music by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt, lyrics by Amanda Green, and a book by Jeff Whitty.[16][17][18] The director and choreographer is Andy Blankenbuehler, with a cast that includes Amanda LaVergne as Campbell, Adrienne Warren as Danielle, and Nick Blaemire as Randall and "award-winning competitive cheerleaders from across the country".[16]

The Alliance Theatre production was nominated for eight Suzi Bass Awards, winning awards for Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler), Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and World Premiere Play or Musical.[19] Additionally, the production was nominated for ten Atlanta Theater Fan Awards from, more than any other production in 2011.[20] The production won for Best Musical and Best Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler).[21]

A national tour of the musical started at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, in November 2011 through December 10, 2011 and then travels to San Francisco, Denver, Houston, and Toronto. The national tour stars Taylor Louderman as Campbell and Jason Gotay as Randall.[22][23] The cast took part in a special celebration kicking off the national tour of the musical on October 22, 2011, which featured performances from the show.[24]

The New York Times reviewer wrote of the Ahmanson Theatre production: "After an opening number that truly dazzles as it reveals the cast’s impressive gymnastic prowess, the score hits its stride only when Campbell transfers to Jackson High. Driven by surging R&B grooves and churning lyrics that suggest the fingerprints of Mr. Miranda ... the dance numbers for the Jackson crowd kick the musical into high gear for most of the first act.... Like most entertainments about the trials and triumphs of the teenage years, 'Bring It On' has as much sap as it does pep in its DNA. It’s distinguished primarily by the electrifying dance routines and the elaborate cheer-squad performances."[22]

The musical is expected to open on Broadway at the St. James Theatre, in a limited run, starting on July 12, 2012 in previews, officially on August 1 through December 30, 2012.[25][26][27]


  1. ^ a b "Bring It On (2000) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  2. ^ a b Rizov, Vadim (July 15, 2010). "The unexpected cult status of Peyton Reed’s "Bring It On."". IFC. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 25, 2000). "Bring It On". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d Kleinman, Geoffrey. "Peyton Reed - Director of Bring it On". DVD Talk. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Bring It On: 2000". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ Bring It On at Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Bring It On". Metacritic. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Scott, A. O. (August 25, 2000). "Bring It On (2000) Film Review; Strong, Modest and Sincere Behind All the Giddy Cheer". The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ Taylor, Charles (August 25, 2000). ""Bring It On": Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? Spunky cheerleaders rip up the color line.". Salon. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ Winter, Jessica (August 29, 2000). "Cheer and Loathing". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ Stack, Peter (August 25, 2000). "Navel Maneuvers / Cheerleader comedy `Bring It On' shows its stomachs, not its brains". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ Lavin, Maud (2010). "Push Comes to Shove: New Images of Aggressive Women", p. 58. The MIT Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-262-12309-9.
  13. ^ "50 Best High School Movies". Entertainment Weekly. July 31, 2008. 
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 18, 2009). "Fired Up". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  15. ^ Bring it On, Beijing Style, Lam Thuy Vo, China Real Time Report, The Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2008. Retrieved December 5, 2009.
  16. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth and Hetrick, Adam. Something to Cheer About: Bring It On: The Musical Begins Atlanta Run Jan. 16 After Ice Delay", January 16, 2011
  17. ^ Rohter, Larry (October 27, 2010). "Lin-Manuel Miranda to Close Out Broadway Run of ‘In the Heights’- ArtsBeat Blog -". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  18. ^ Listing, accessed November 10, 2010
  19. ^ "Suzi Bass Awards"
  20. ^ "Atlanta Theater Fan Award Nominations"
  21. ^ "Atlanta Theater Fan Award Winners Announced"
  22. ^ a b Isherwood, Charles. "Theater Review:'Bring It On'. Power Struggles Over Pep and High School Popularity", The New York Times, November 22, 2011
  23. ^ "'Bring It On: The Musical' to Launch National Tour at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre", February 17, 2011
  24. ^ "Stage Tube Highlights"., October 28, 2011
  25. ^ Staff. "Three Cheers! Bring It On: The Musical Confirmed to Play Broadway This Summer", May 15, 2012
  26. ^ Bring It On - The Musical- at Playbill Vault
  27. ^ Broadway's Bring It On Sets New December 2012 Closing Date,, October 16, 2012

External links[edit]