Grade: C-/?
Entire family: No
2017, 95 min., Color
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual material
Universal Pictures
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Featured audio: DTS-HDMI 5.1
Bonus features: C
Includes: Blu-ray, Digital HD
Amazon link


I get it. We live in a digital world, where everyone who walks from here to there is on their cell phone checking email, posting or replying to social media, or doing everything but watching where they’re going. Cyberbullying can be more devastating than in-person bullying, and bodyshaming and trolling are more common than “your mom” insults used to be. So it #KindaMakesSense that the sixth installment in the Bring It On franchise would tap into that. And the potential was certainly there.

But Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack really is kind of dumb. The acting is bad, the cheerleading acrobatics take a backseat to online insults, and the characters are so cardboard you could knock them over with a little finger or hearty belch.

I’m not sure what happens when Alyson Fouse sets down at her keyboard to tap out a Bring It On screenplay, but she produces something surprisingly mediocre-to-awful just about every time she tackles a new installment. And this, from someone who wrote for such smart and funny TV series as The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show, Everybody Hates Chris, and Born Again Virgin. Since soap opera and sitcom star Vivica A. Fox (Booty Call) appears just as stiff and wooden in her Bring It On debut as the others onscreen, I can only assume that everyone who signs on just kind of automatically sinks to the level of expectations for this franchise.

Fouse’s first effort was the direct-to-video Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006), which at least had Hayden Panettiere and Rihanna going for it and came close to the 2000 original starring Kirsten Dunst. But her two follow-ups—Bring It On: In It To Win It and
Bring It on: Fight to the Finish
—were worse, and this latest attempt to revive the franchise is in fact the very worst of the bunch. If anyone in your family is a fan of the series, odds are that even they will be disappointed with Worldwide #Cheersmack.

The “fantasy” begins when we’re supposed to believe that the Rebels cheer squad is so popular that people around the globe watch their free live performance on TV and social media as if it were a pay-per-view fight. But when you elevate the venue and their profile, you also raise the expectations for the routines, which frankly aren’t as good as what viewers saw in some of the early Bring It On installments. And how futuristic is it for there to be a Big Brother-style “Cheer Goddess” who has her own webshow and is somehow the last word on all things related to cheerleading?

Cristine Prosperi (Degrassi, 2nd Generation) is the lead cheerleader this time, and as Destiny she handles herself about as well as can be expected, given the material—which is to say, she looks befuddled and frustrated most of the time, left with little to do but flash extended reaction shots to all the #Cheersmacking going on.

In war, truth is the first casualty, and so it is here, if we equate truth with believability. The Rebels’ opening big-venue performance features gigantic screens you’d normally only see at a mega-popstar concert or in European cities during the World Cup, and their screens are hijacked by a dance troupe dressed all in black, wearing masks, and calling themselves The Truth. They brag that they’re better than The Rebels, but their dance choreography doesn’t come close to being as intimidating as those masks. Still, it’s enough to spark a social media chain reaction where everyone who can do a jumping jack seems to be telling The Rebels you’re going down and they have no choice but to accept the challenge.

If you’ve seen any of the films in this series you know what comes next. Destiny decides to recruit some streetwise dancers to inject a little hip-hop life into their routines, and teens who liked Dance Academy will at least appreciate that Jordan Rodrigues, who played Christian in the popular Australian series, is the leader of this little group of street dancers and provides a romantic flirtation for Destiny.

My daughter is in the target age group for this sequel, and though she enjoyed the first one in the series she couldn’t make it all the way through this one. It was just too rough, and seeing the filmmakers co-opt a trick from Pitch Perfect and have the cheerleaders constantly linking “cheer” to words (like “Cheer-tastic” and “Cheer-lebrity”) only added to her annoyance. So did camera tricks that she and I suspect were used to mask some of the more pedestrian moves. Though the picture quality is terrific and the DTS soundtrack drives the music that drives this film, it’s not enough to compensate for a hard-to-swallow concept, thin plotting and characters, and frankly not enough eyebrow-raising cheer routines.

In other words, if you’re feeling the urge to get #Cheersmacked, go back to the original film in this series, or Bring It On: All or Nothing.

Language: Nothing too terrible
Sex: Innuendo plus some sexual references and situations
Violence: Nothing here either
Adult situations: Not much of this film seems adult in nature
Takeaway: This Blu-ray of Worldwide #Cheersmack comes with an offer of a free additional digital movie from Universal, which almost seems like an apology