Gymnastics flick stumbles over stale jokes

Amy Weiss

From the team that brought you the hilarious satire that made cheerleading badass comes a similar film about gymnastics. Unfortunately, the writers of Bring It On failed to land another comedy classic with Jessica Bendinger’s Stick It.

Stick It follows elite-gymnast-turned-BMX-rebel Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) as she re-enrolls in Vickerman Gymnastics Academy after an arrest for property damage (a result of some bike tricks gone awry). Instead of attending a military academy – Haley’s only other option – she is forced to return to the sport she abandoned midway through the all-important World Championships.

Thus, she leaves her awkward-but-loveable friends Poot and Ivan (newcomers John Patrick Amedori and Mio Dzakula) for a group of catty competitors. The other girls, led by her former teammate Joanne (Vanessa Lengies), are less than welcoming to Haley, and Coach Vickerman (Jeff Bridges) pushes hard as she struggles to gain some respect and shake things up in the straight-laced gymnastics world – despite the efforts of by-the-book Joanne, who’s determined to thwart her rival.

The film delivers a few funny lines – and a whole lot of bad puns – but it teeters too precariously on the edge of being a satire and a genuinely inspiring story. In its ambivalence, it accomplishes neither. The issues of intense pressure, overbearing parents and unbelievable pain are all present, and the flick’s valid critique of the judging system is both interesting and unexpected. Still, fans of the sport – and of comedy films in general – will be disappointed with the overall predictable and underwhelming storyline.

Stick It is certainly not the worst way to spend an hour and 45 minutes. The action and dialogue move fast and prove at least moderately entertaining. Still, this 7 out of 10 undoubtedly fails to tumble its way to the top.