Projections - Movie Reviews

Sugar & Spice Sugar & Spice

Cheerleaders by day, bank robbers by night?  Who could come up with this wacky premise?  Producer Wendy Finerman, writer Mandy Nelson and director Francine McDougall are at the helm of this comedy.

At Lincoln High School a team cheerleading squad is made up of five peppy beautiful girls; Diane (Marley Shelton) a sweet but naive girl is their leader, Cleo (Melissa George) has a huge crush on TV host Conan O'Brien, Hannah (Rachel Blanchard) is a devout Christian, Kansas (Mena Suvari) is a tough talking beauty and Lucy (Sara Marsh) is the smart one.

Diane falls for Jack (James Marsden) the newly transferred football captain and soon becomes pregnant.  They move into a small apartment and get jobs - hers at a supermarket bank branch and his at a video store.  Both continue their cheerleading and football.  Bills pile up fast and Diane goes crying to her squad that she needs money to raise her baby.  She comes up with the idea that they rob a bank and use the cash to help all of them.

The girls decide they need some help so they watch the movies Heat and Dog Day Afternoon, then turn to Kansas' mother (Sean Young), who's serving time, to get some pointers.

The girls walk alike, talk alike and hang out together every day.  The rest of the student body envy these shining examples of exuberance and beauty.  Everyone except Lisa (Maria Sokoloff) who is on the B squad and longs for a spot on the A team.  It's through her that the story is narrated.

Dripping with sarcasm and peppered with vulgarities, Lisa tells the cops that she's sure she knows the identities of the robbers because she noticed they used one of their cheerleading moves during the robbery.

The heist it self is a funny scene.  The girls dress as pregnant Betty dolls and one of them is disguised as Richard Nixon.  They use guns that are glued and taped together and they succeed.  The get away is in a borrowed van with a pest exterminator logo painted on the side and a huge fake bug resting on the roof.

The acting is right on, especially Marley Shelton who gives "beautiful and dumb" new meaning, and James Marsden who plays charmingly naive.

The script is sassy and different, but the PG-13 rating was a surprise; the theme should appeal to a younger audience, but it's language puts it in R territory.

Sugar & Spice

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