Roll Bounce

Erica and I have an on-going teen-performance film festival. Which is a fancy way of saying that we like to watch movies where a plucky teen or group of teens has to come-of-age while practicing to win the big dance or gymnastics or dance or cheerleading or dance or marching band contest. So when I saw Roll Bounce in the Pre-Viewed bin at our local Blockbusters for $5.99 – 25% After Holidays Clearance, it was a no-brainer to toss it in our stack. After all, how bad could it be?

I mean, we like these kinds of movies, but a lot of them are pretty terrible (I yelled at the TV during Center Stage, it hurt my brain so much). So it was with surprise that Erica and I kept turning to each other during Roll Bounce and exclaiming, “This movie is actually good!”

Xavier (Bow Wow*) and his friends live on the South Side in the late ’70s and live to skate — but the local rink has just closed. So now they’re going to have to go all the way up to the North Side to the Sweetwater Roller Rink. And isn’t there a big skating contest coming up…? So, yes, cliches abound. But there’s also bitter with the sweet — Xavier’s father (Chi McBride) is struggling to find work as an engineer, and the whole family is dealing with the death of Xavier’s mother. There are sharp appearances by Mike Epps and Charlie Murphy as neighborhood garbage men. Two realistic conflicts are resolved a little too easily, but for this type of film to have realistic conflicts at all is awesome. And Xavier’s friends are sketched so believably as characters, it’s something of a shame that we don’t get to learn even more about them. In all, a pretty darn good movie.

Ebert’s Review – ***
Rotten Tomatoes – 65%

* He’s not Lil’ any more.

1 Comment so far

  1. tricia (unregistered) on January 9th, 2007 @ 10:54 pm

    Well, when I saw the preview to Stomp the Yard, I immediately thought of y’all!!!

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