The ending credits do not confirm it, but it would appear that no
cheerleaders were hurt in the making of Francine McDougall's SUGAR & SPICE,
a cross between DROP DEAD GORGEOUS and BRING IT ON. Sporadically cheesy
fun, the movie is one that will probably earn such accolades as "not too
bad" and "could have been worse" from most viewers. First-time write Mandy
Nelson does come up with some wickedly funny, over-the-top gags, but most of
the time the movie coasts aimlessly along like a car stuck in neutral.
The five A-team cheerleaders of Lincoln High, Diane Weston (Marley Shelton),
Kansas Hill (Mena Suvari), Hannah Wold (Rachel Blanchard), Lucy Whitman
(Sara Marsh) and Cleo Miller (Melissa George), are a tight knit clique.
Even their bodies are on the same cycle. One scene has them passing a
tampon box from stall to stall in the restroom since they all get their
periods at the same time. You will be surprised and probably not
particularly pleased to learn that this is another almost-R rated film that
the studio has just squeezed into a PG-13 rating, like a hippo trying on a
Diane falls head-over-heels for the school's new quarterback, Jack Bartlett
(James Marsden). In a scene that works precisely because it is so utterly
ridiculous, he runs down the field for a touchdown as she runs along the
sidelines beside him. As he approaches the goal line, they exchange "I love
This All-American couple quickly becomes personae non gratae to their
parents when Diane gets pregnant and they decide not to get married.
Instead, they attempt to set up their own little love nest in an apartment
run by a sleazy hippie with a bad attitude.
"The Beatles had it wrong," Denise, who looks like Heather Graham's slightly
younger sister, tells the rest of the squad at a slumber party. "Love isn't
all you need." She has the solution: rob banks. Approaching it like a term
project, they rent tapes from THE APPLE DUMPLING GAME to RESERVOIR DOGS in
order to acquire the necessary skills. Eventually, they don Betty Doll
masks and rob the small bank branch inside their local supermarket.
Even though it isn't worth recommending, I can unequivocally say that SUGAR
& SPICE is better than most teen comedies. At worst, it's merely boring,
rather than gratingly awful. And, hey, I laughed. Okay, not often, but I
did find several incidents humorous. Given the other members of this film
genre, this is more than might be expected.
SUGAR & SPICE runs 1:33. It is rated PG-13 for language, sex-related humor
and some thematic elements and would be acceptable for teenagers.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes