What It's Like to Watch 'Bring It On' As an Adult

by Rachel Semigran

Brr! It's cold in here! I said there must be some Toros in the atmosphere! Oh sorry, you'll have to excuse me, I've just finished watching Bring It On as a grown woman and I now have that cheer stuck in my head for the foreseeable future. A strange thing happens when you watch a film for the first time since adolescence. A wave of nostalgia and sickening embarrassment starts to wash over. "Aw! I remember butterfly clips!" you think as Kirsten Dunst twists her hair back like the 2000s teen goddess she was. But then suddenly your stomach curls in knots as your body remembers the awkward nightmare that was middle school. Not all of us were cool enough for low-rise Mudd flares and platform sandals, mmkay?

Whether you were a weirdo art kid like me or one of those "socially-adjusted" kinds, you may have loved, or at least secretly loved the cheerleading comedy Bring It On. I remember watching it for the first time at a sleepover (I wouldn't dare be caught seeing it at the movies. Popular people saw it!) and I totally had the hots for Cliff Pantone — could there BE any bigger hipster name? In any case, Bring It On was the first movie I ever identified as a guilty pleasure, so I've always had sort of a weird relationship with it. Do I watch it and enjoy it ironically now? Do I just enjoy it for its mindless bliss and catchy routines? Well, after watching it again recently, I'm still not sure, but here's what I thought about it.

1. Alright Children of the Corn Boyfriend, Calm Down

Are you robot? Why are you smiling even when you're upset? Why are you so possessive yet distant all at once? You're a dumptruck full of garbage.

2. You're Not Fooling Anyone With Those Faux Dreads And Tats, Eliza Dushku

Gymnasts have just as many sparkly outfits and use just as much hairspray as cheerleaders! Have you SEEN the Olympics?

3. They Make a Lot of "Manual Stimulation"Jokes in This Flick

And they don't even make any, "Would you like your muffin buttered?"-like innuendo about it! HOW DID THEY GET AWAY WITH THIS? Also, I would have gotten detention for showing my bum in a routine. What kind of an institution for learning is this place? GET OFF MY LAWN!

4. Was Kirsten Dunst Trying to Protest Bras In This Movie?

Wait...did Bring It On secretly influence my budding feminism when I was 12?

5. Bring It On, or The Belly Button Who Cheered

I'm pretty sure there are more belly buttons than pom-poms in this movie.

6. Yep, Still Shoving My Face Into A Pillow During This Scene

Poor guy, those guitar skills are so fake.

7. He Is The Poor Man's Justin Theroux


8. What's With all The '00s Teen Romcoms and Swings?

At least she didn't puke on him à la Kat Stratford.

9. Lit-terally Haven't Seen This Movie In Years And I Still Know This Cheer-Off

Gabrielle Union's outfit is everything.

10. Spirit Fingers Guy Reminds Me Of This Guy From The Sex And The City Opening Credits

Must be the shirts.

11. None Of These People Look Like Teenagers

I also hope this was supposed to be satirical at the time.

12. I Don't Remember Anyone At My High School Caring This Much About... Anything

Not sports, not cheering, not academics. Was it just me or was high school waaaaaaay more apathetic than movies would have you believe?

13. Now I Need To Go Listen To Some Blaque

Yes late '90s and early '00s R&B. YES.

So when all was said and done... I rolled my eyes at the poorly-written sex jokes, I cringed and some of the outdated fashion, but I mostly still found myself loving the sh*t out of the fun of it all. Oh, and I also kind of picked up on the fact that Pitch Perfect is basically the same movie but with cheering. They're the state champs who must defeat their title. There's the evil Queen Bee who uses old (or stolen) routines, then the other popular one with a heart of gold who invites an outsider in who changes the whole squad. There's a romance with a dark-haired musician. And they learn that they have to be original to really stand out. I'm half surprised "Aca-ocracy" didn't become a thing.

Images: Universal Pictures (2) HBO, giphy,ereve, giphy, pixshark,moviegifss/Tumblr, giphy, giphy