Stick It is an American teen comedy-drama film starring Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, and Vanessa Lengies. It was written and directed by Jessica Bendinger, writer of Bring It On; the film marks her directorial debut. It was produced by Touchstone Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment and was released in theatres on April 28, 2006.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jessica Bendinger|
|Produced by||Gail Lyon|
|Written by||Jessica Bendinger|
|Narrated by||Missy Peregrym|
|Music by||Michael Simpson|
|Edited by||Troy Takaki|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) is a rebellious 17-year-old who has a run-in with the law when she and two friends go biking through a residential construction site in Plano, Texas. Haley is arrested and forced by a judge to return to the regimented world of competitive gymnastics. Haley was once considered one of the most talented gymnasts in the US. One year earlier, she made it to the World Championships, but she walked out of competition in the middle of the finals, costing the American team the gold medal and leaving many people hurt and crushed, making her one of the most hated people in gymnastics.
Haley goes to the elite Vickerman Gymnastics Academy (VGA) in Houston, her ultimate nightmare, run by legendary coach Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges). Haley has a talk with Coach Vickerman, who convinces her to take up the sport once again – at least until she can enter an upcoming invitational competition. Vickerman convinces her that she can use the prize money from the competition to repay some property damage debts she still owes and leave gymnastics once and for all. Disliking the sport's rigid rules and intense training schedule, Haley is reluctant to come out of retirement. Her attitude toward her fellow gymnasts – as well as her past – causes conflicts. After getting the cold shoulder the first day at the gym, Haley realizes what she is up against.
At the invitational, Haley's talent shines and her return from gymnastics retirement seems for the better. But all is not what it seems in the scoring system. She starts to remember one of the many reasons she retired – the flaws in judging. The panels do not look at the difficulty of the move nor do they look at the technique; they merely take deductions for unimportant minor errors. As Haley says, "It doesn't matter how well you do. It's how well you follow their rules."
In addition, Haley is severely stressed by her domineering mother, who has arrived to watch the meet. Her conduct at the World Championship ("Worlds") has not been forgotten by the other athletes, and they treat her with open hostility. Haley finally breaks down in the middle of her balance beam routine and, in a repeat of the World Championships, leaves the arena before completing the competition. Before she leaves, she reveals to Vickerman the reason she walked out of Worlds: she had just discovered that her mother was having an affair with her then-coach, and her parents got divorced as a result.
Haley then goes back to the judge who sentenced her to the gymnastics academy to inform her that she has dropped out and wants to be sent to either a juvenile hall or military academy. But the judge tells Haley that someone (obviously Vickerman) had just paid off all of her debt for the property damages in her incident with the law, that she is no longer under any legal issues, and that having jerks for parents doesn't need to ruin her life. Haley then approaches Vickerman, who confirms it by claiming that he used the money that her father had paid him for her gymnastics training. Vickerman persuades Haley to remain with the academy a while longer so she can continue with her training to reach Nationals.
Although she did not complete the invitational, Haley continues to train and, with three of her teammates Mina (Maddy Curley), Wei Wei (Nikki SooHoo) and Joanne (Vanessa Lengies), qualifies for the National Championships. The biased judging leaves her far back in the all-around standings, but this does not keep her out of the event finals. In the first event final, vault, Mina executes an extremely difficult maneuver perfectly but receives a low score (9.500 out of 10). When Vickerman questions the judges, he learns that Mina was penalized on the technicality of showing a bra strap. Haley is next up. However, instead of vaulting, she shows her bra strap to the judges and forfeits her turn in disgust (otherwise known as a "scratch"). One by one, the other gymnasts follow suit, earning a string of zeroes and forcing the judges to award Mina the vault gold medal anyway.
Haley's bold action sparks a movement. The gymnasts talk among themselves and realize that if they could choose the winner, the judging would be fair. They convince all the others in the competition to do the same, choosing one person from each event who they, by consensus, deem the best to be the "winner". The winner completes her routine; the others jump on and off the apparatus and scratch. It seems the movement will be ruined when Tricia Skilken, a longtime judges' favorite and Haley's former teammate and best friend, arrives and threatens the choice of winners by competing herself. Trisha finally comes to her senses, though, and realizes that scratching is for the good of the competition to make a point.
What started out as a gymnastics competition turns into a small revolution for the rules and Haley. Her talents are recognized once more and her future seems to be set with numerous colleges offering her athletic scholarships to compete in NCAA gymnastics.
- Missy Peregrym as Haley Graham
- Jeff Bridges as Burt Vickerman
- Vanessa Lengies as Joanne Charis
- Maddy Curley as Mina Hoyt
- Nikki SooHoo as Wei Wei Yong
- Kellan Lutz as Frank
- John Patrick Amedori as Poot
- Tarah Paige as Tricia Skilken
- Jon Gries as Brice Graham
- Gia Carides as Alice Graham
- John Kapelos as Chris DeFrank
- Julie Warner as Phyllis Charis
- Andrea Bendewald as Madison's Mom
- Isabelle Severino – Missy Peregrym's gymnastics double (main)
- Jessica Miyagi – Missy Peregrym's gymnastics double (beam routine – IG Classic)
- Annie Gagnon – Vanessa Lengies's gymnastics double
- Kate Stopper – Maddy Curley's gymnastics double
- Tacia Van Vleet – Nikki SooHoo's gymnastics double
- We Run This – Missy Elliott (Stick It Edit)
- Abra Cadabra – Talib Kweli
- Beware of the Boys – Panjabi MC (Mundian To Bach Ke)
- Fire Fire – Fannypack/Mr. Vegas
- Dance Commander – Electric Six
- Game, The – Jurassic 5
- If I Only Knew – Lisa Lavie
- Breakdown – The Toques
- Nu Nu (Yeah Yeah) – Fannypack (Double J & Hayze Extended mix)
- Crowded – Jeannie Ortega/Papoose
- Anthem Part Two – Blink-182
- Hittin' The Bars – Mike Simpson
- Come Baby Come – K7
- Outta My Way – Damone
- Love Song – J.P. Amedori (Bonus Track)
The movie also features brief pieces of other songs, which were not included in the soundtrack, including Green Day's "Brain Stew" and "Holiday", My Morning Jacket's "One Big Holiday", and Fall Out Boy's "Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued" and "I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was this Stupid Song Written About Me".
Stick It was released on April 28, 2006 and grossed $10,803,610 in the opening weekend. The movie grossed $26,910,736 total in the domestic market and $5,066,112 internationally for a total of $31,976,848 after 13 weeks at the box office. The film had the highest per screen average on its opening weekend with 2,038 movie theaters, making an average of $5,301 per screen.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 31%, based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. On Metacritic, it has a score of 52 out 100, based on reviews from 25 critics. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave it a grade of B+.
Critic Nathan Lee of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, stating, "A spry teenage comedy that gets everything right, Stick It takes the usual batch of underdogs, dirt bags, mean girls and bimbos and sends them somersaulting through happy clichés and unexpected invention."