Bring It On / Ice Princess / Stick It
I think I could actually write full reviews of all three of these, but they make such a nice set that it seems a shame to break them up.
Bring It On tries to be enlightened about race. What happens to a rich white girl cheerleading squad when they find out that their success has been due to someone else's efforts, and then they face off against a talented inner-city people of color squad at the national championships? Unsurprisingly, they don't delve any deeper into the black-white thing than they have to for the sake of moving the plot along. And I can almost hear people saying "That nice black girl who was the team captain, she was so articulate, not like those other girls on her squad who kept threatening to beat people up." Did the scriptwriters stage it that way? I had to wonder. I own this movie and I watch it several times a year because of the cute, but it does annoy the hell out of me with its cluelessness.
Ice Princess requires a LOT of suspension of disbelief. First, one must accept that no one noticed that skinny white Michelle Trachtenberg was cute just because she was interested in physics. Second, one must accept that Harvard University would not defer admission for a freakishly bright young woman who is interested in hard sciences in order to let her pursue her amateur sports career. Third, one must accept that feminists HATE ICE SKATING. Because of the cutesy dresses, you know, they completely invalidate skating's status as an Olympic sport that requires strength, dedication, and training. We're shallow that way, us feminists. Shame on Joan Cusack for taking this role.
Finally, the gymnastics film Stick It, which amazed me by having the most feminist potential of the three. Yes, there's a wiser older man coaching a rebellious young woman so she can find her true potential. However, two things about this movie totally rocked. They used actual competitive athletes for some of the speaking roles and most of the gymnast extras, so we don't have the usual issues with actors who don't look like they could do the stunts. The plot twist at the end involves a group of women working together to redefine the standards for success in their field. I won't say any more than that, because I don't like spoilers, but I was really quite surprised and pleased.
It kind of goes without saying that the diversity in all of these films is teh suck.