Jump In!

Erica and I have an irregular, on-going private film festival of what I call, for lack of a more precise term, "teen performance" movies. You know, movies where an individual or team, usually teen-aged, has to overcome obstacles, whether internal or external, to excel at some performance art (occasionally a sport, but usually, for us, dance or roller-skating or cheerleader, etc.). We've been watching these movies for a while, but I'm only just starting to narrow in on why we watch them. There's the performances, of course, and with Erica a choreographer it's research, more or less. The plots of these movies, however, are usually laughable, when they're not downright insulting to the intelligence. I'm starting to wonder that if, in a perverse way, yelling at the terrible plots isn't pleasing to my cantankerous old heart.

Jump In! highlights the bipolar nature of this sort of movie perfectly. The performances (double-dutch jump-roping, in this case) are fairly interesting, if repetitive (and suffer from the problem this sorts of movies often have, where it's hard to really tell the difference between the performance that's supposed to be 'pretty good' and the one that's supposed to be 'incredible'). The acting is respectable. The plot was cheesy, and especially the subtext of "girls are dumb and need a skilled boy to come in and fix their routines and change the name of the team" had Erica cringing. I suppose the messages of "it's OK for girls to box and boys to double-dutch, do what you love" and "be honest with your parents -- they might just understand that you don't want to box any more" are good enough, but the whole "maybe bullies just need to be told that they don't need to be angry anymore" story was just ridiculous to me.

Also note that this was a Disney Channel movie, originally, so there are periodic hard fades to black and it's required (for Team Gerdes, anyway) to shout "commercial break" at the fade.

FuzzyCo grade, for the performances: B, for the plot: D