15 08 2011

Day 2 of the festival for me, but really Day 4.  Only got to watch one movie tonight because I have an exam at 8:30 tomorrow morning.  Again.

Synopsis:  A teenager hermaphrodite named Spork must learn how to dance for the upcoming school Dance Off and defeat her enemy– the uber bitchy Betsy Byotch and her group of cronies.

Super awesome things: the throwback to ’80s and ’90s music and culture is really cool.  The film is drenched in nostalgia and faded colors that could’ve fell flat on its face but it works.  It’s glitzy, glamorous (aestetically speaking), and all the characters are ones you love or you love to hate.  Spork, played by Savannah Stehlin is great and understated in the title role as the extremely awkward and quiet hero of the film.  Despite the fact that she is only 15 — as is the case for many of the other high schoolers in the film — and that they look noticeably younger than, say, the “kids” on Glee, what doubts I had of their talents were cast away when the actors danced, sang, and acted with such ease.  This is largely due to the humorous script of writer and director J.B. Ghuman Jr., who has a good balance between comedy, believable (ie. not melodramatic) drama, and coming of age scenes that work cohesively to cement the themes of the film.  Even during serious scenes, Ghuman Jr.’s wicked sense of humor reminds us to not take the film too seriously (in one scene, Spork runs home crying and along the way, kicks a dog who barks at her, or the very last scene of the film which I won’t spoil).

Not so awesome things: The film appears to be set during the ’80s sometime, what with the big hair-dos and undertones of post-Civil Rights Movement, but then Charlie, Spork’s romantic interest, mentions Justin Timberlake, which places the film much later.  When is really taking place?  It’s not a make-or-break question by any means, but it did leave me questioning things.  Other irks that I’ve come across among other reviews for the film suggest that it’s been done before– the outcast, freakish hero/heroine vs. the popular kids, a la Juno, Mean Girls, etc.  And I have to agree with that; although Spork may not have a completely original plot and the structure is largely the same as other teen movies, what makes the film stand out from those other ones are the characters.  That being said, I know some people may have issues about how clearly stereotypical it makes Black people (they’re all good at dancing, they’re all sassy) that at times, it almost comes across as offensive, but because of the light tone and how everyone was laughing, I guess that makes it okay somehow?  Sort of?  Another review I read commented on the film’s lingering on scenes, and it was particularly evident when Spork and Tootsie Roll go to the dance club.  Sure, there were some crazy lighting, color, and slow-mo experimenting in those scenes, but it did feel a little redundant.  And finally, despite me cheering her on throughout the film, the climax of the film, at the Dance Off, is a little too convenient.  I suspended my belief for almost 80 minutes but there’s only so high I can do it.

Good for watching: for a nostalgic trip.

Overall: A hilarious, quirky comedy that has the potential of becoming a cult classic.  I’d recommend it to youth thoroughly.

Grade: B