Empire will give anything with Jeff Bridges in it a fair shake, but he’s pushing it with this gymnastics flick. Written and directed by Jessica Bendinger, who penned the delicious Bring It On, this is hyperactive teen angst uplift-a-rama without an ounce of the wit and charm that made her cheerleader flick so easy to like.
Bridges, looking a little less embarrassed than he might, plays stereotypical gruff coach Burt Vickerman, tough love mentor to Missy Peregrym’s delinquent gymnastics prodigy — a straight lift of The Bad News Bears’ Kelly Leak — who must conquer her own bad attitude and the enmity of her team-mates to learn a valuable lesson about yadda, yadda, yadda. There are a couple of good lines — “They don’t call it gym-nice-tics” — but it’s far from a perfect ten.
Verdict The script fights well against the cliche-ridden plot but this is very average all round.