Saturday, July 14, 2018

Only now does it occur to me... BRING IT ON

Only now does it occur to me... that early '00s cheerleader classic BRING IT ON contains an extended homage to Bob Fosse's 1979 masterpiece ALL THAT JAZZ.

Midway through the film, after the rich girls of Rancho Carne High School realize that their marvelous cheerleading moves have been purloined from East Compton, the team––which includes Kirsten Dunst and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER's Eliza Dushku––realizes that they need fresh creative inspiration, and assemble the funds to hire an outside choreographer: the legendary "Sparky Polastri" ( played by Ian Roberts). He makes a dramatic entrance to the seminal Eurotrashy '90s hit, "Get Ready For This," by 2 Unlimited,

and there's something familiar about his knee-high boots,

 all-black attire,

abusive attitude,

neatly-trimmed half-goatee,

 and copious use of jazz hands

(which, to be fair, he calls "spirit fingers"),

which clued me in that that Sparky is intended to be a stand-in for ALL THAT JAZZ's "Joe Gideon," the 'warts-and-all' autobiographical portrait of Bob Fosse.

However, the thing that really puts it over the edge is when Sparky begins downing handfuls of Dexedrine,

just as Roy Scheider does so notoriously (and frequently) throughout ALL THAT JAZZ.

Ultimately, Sparky reveals himself to be a false messiah, though his routine is used once in competition, and it is something of a joy to see two dozen uniformed cheerleaders doing avant-garde Fosse moves on ESPN2.

Later, when the team must move beyond Sparky's shadow and explore their own creativity, they turn to martial arts, mime, and an actual Fosse film (SWEET CHARITY) to fuel their artistic vision.

(Naturally, I approve of all of this––and if you've not yet seen it, I cannot recommend ALL THAT JAZZ enough: it's one of my all-time favorite films.)

1 comment:

J.D. Lafrance said...

Whoa! I knew that they were paying homage to Fosse but did not catch the pill-popping reference! That's funny. Good call!