Sunday, October 25, 2009


(Paul Lynch, 1986)
It's not really about gymnastics; tweak the occasional montages and it could just as easily be about archery or microbiology or a booger-flicking tournament. Instead, like every other Rocky/Flashdance derivative that flooded the 80s market, it's about conquering adversity with stick-to-it-iveness, rendering all social/personal realities irrelevant by your lonesome - with love interest standing by of course. Ronald Reagan top to bottom, in short; so as a piece of cinema it's down to the details. Some of the actors are quirky enough to liven things up - especially the love interest, brought to you by none other than Mr. Keanu Reeves, warming up for Ted; heroine Olivia D'Abo's hateful alkie dad and big-hair stepsister are more interesting than the sickly mom or her utterly inert bitch-nemeses/teammates, one of whom appears to be made of porcelain. It's my instinct to be appalled by the comic-relief black guys, but on the other hand at least they're in the movie. But D'Abo doesn't quite convince with her awkward-girl shtick, and in the absence of any other narrative focus the lack of interest in the gymnastics themselves really does matter; it's all just bodies hurtling around, and not only is the outcome of the big tournament a foregone conclusion, it's all performed by an obvious double.

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