Sugar & Spice

With tongue firmly in cheek, Sugar & Spice yucks its way past an abominable premise into a mildly amusing comedy. Cheerleaders turned bankrobbers is not particularly an appealing concept. Thankfully, director Francine McDougall (The Date) and writer Lona Williams pack the movie with zippy dialogue and non-stop pop-culture references, enough to distract people from any semblance of a story or character development. Sugar & Spice is escapist entertainment that requires only the use of one or two neurons. Lisa (Marla Solokoff, Whatever It Takes, Dude, Where's My Car?), a jealous and bitter member of the cheerleading B Squad at Lincoln High narrates.

Jack Bartlett (James Marsden, X-Men, Gossip), football team captain, and Diane Weston (Marley Shelton, Valentine, The Bachelor), A Squad captain, make the perfect couple. Yes, they are Jack and Diane. Together, they have an innocent unending love for each other which changes when Diane discovers she is having a baby. Suddenly, the two need to think about where to live and how to earn money. Diane and her friends on the A Squad decide that the only thing to do is rob a bank. However, Jack must not know, since he is squeaky clean. Diane's friends include Kansas (Mena Suvari, Loser, American Beauty), the rebel of the group, Hannah (Rachel Blanchard, Road Trip, Carrie 2), the Christian, Cleo (Melissa George, The Limey, Mulholland Drive), who is obsessed with Conan O'Brien, and Lucy (Sara Marsh).

Except for Lisa, all of the girls, even Kansas, are naively stupid. They plan for their robbery by watching movies and taking notes, and later mapping out their plans with "Betty" dolls. Finally, they turn to Kansas' incarcerated mother, who is flattered. Each step the girls take makes them realize that they are in way over their heads. Still they manage to throw out line after sassy line. Many of Williams' lines fail, but there are more than enough that are funny. What sets Sugar & Spice apart from most other teen-oriented movies is its attitude. The characters here are using their brains, scheming against other people and trying to reach their goals (like a non-political version of Election). They always try to think things out, and although the results are not exactly brilliant, it is still fun watching them try. Lisa's seething hatred is also a nice foil to Diane's wide eyes and unnatural optimism. So while Sugar & Spice may not be a movie to make people think, it will make them smile.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 24 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language, sex-related humor, and some thematic elements.

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