***A Jeff Bridges Retrospective- “Stick It” (Yes, Stick It) - A Film Review
Stick It, starring Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, Touchstone Films, 2006
Over the past few years or so, since he won the Academy Award for best actor for his role as broken down country singer/songwriter Bad Blake in Crazy Hearts I have been reviewing the cinematic work of Jeff Bridges as his films have come into my hands. Most of my reviews have been positive reflecting the very real talent and flare that Jeff Bridges brings to the movies. That said, I am at a lost for why he did the film under review, Stick It, that while marginally entertaining at times is an incredible waste of his time and talent.
Now I am not, and never have been, privy to the decisions that actors make about taking on scripts. Maybe they see something in the plot line, maybe they are looking for something a little edgy, or maybe just for the dough, not an unimportant consideration in fickle movie land. But now I can add Jeff Bridges to the vast number of very talented actors that have been in “turkeys”, for whatever reason.
Strangely, it is not the subject matter, the trials and tribulation of a troubled, ex- or maybe not so ex- gymnast (Haley Graham, played by Missy Peregrym) trying to find her place in the world, the non-monastic gymnastics training world that is off here but the subtext that the teenage rebellion of a gymnast attempting to dramatically change the way the sport is conducted has enough energy to fill an hour and one half film. It really doesn’t since an amazing amount of time is spent in various clips of gym activity. And Jeff Bridges as a washed-out (kind of) gym camp owner is in the thick of this thing as Haley’s substitute father/confessor.
There are plenty of issues (sexual, physical, psychological) that could have been raised by a close look at the cult-like elite gymnastics world (or any high-level sports training) but none, other than a silly attack on the scoring system, are addressed by a film which decided that it did not want to tackle them and played instead to a kind of campy teenage melodrama. And high talent (although poor gymnast, incredible poor, making me feel practically like a champ in comparison, a very hard task to do, and sage) Jeff Bridges got caught in the middle.
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