Noth­ing to cheer about in this bat­tle of the un­der­dogs

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER -

IT takes se­ri­ous chops to cut it in the mean, teen main­stream.

De­spite com­mit­ted per­for­mances from a fresh­faced young cast, this South Aus­tralian out­sider is play­ing way out­side its league.

Writ­ten, di­rected and pro­duced by Clay Glen, Go­ing for Gold tells a fa­mil­iar un­der­dog sports story.

US im­port Kelli Ber­glund, best known for her role as a bionic teenager in the Dis­ney se­ries Lab Rats, stars as Emma, a peri­patetic army brat who greets the un­wel­come news of her fa­ther’s im­pend­ing re­lo­ca­tion to Ade­laide with prac­ticed res­ig­na­tion.

De­spon­dent at the thought of be­ing the new girl yet again, Emma is sur­prised to find that Aussie stu­dents are an ex­traor­di­nar­ily friendly bunch — with one or two snarly, self­ab­sorbed ex­cep­tions.

She hasn’t even un­packed her boxes be­fore her ir­re­press­ible neigh­bour Han­nah (Emily Mor­ris) ar­rives on the doorstep to in­vite her to join the lo­cal gym­nas­tic team. When that com­pe­ti­tion is sab­o­taged by the afore­men­tioned ex­cep­tions, Emma comes up with a rad­i­cal plan to beat them at their own game. The cham­pion cheer­leader will teach her South Aus­tralian coun­ter­parts ev­ery­thing she knows ahead of an up­com­ing state cham­pi­onship.

Con­fi­dent she can lead them all the way to the top, Emma and her new bestie re­cruit an eclec­tic team that in­cludes a con­tor­tion­ist, a bel­ly­dancer and a cou­ple of hand­some sports­men who dou­ble as ro­man­tic in­ter­ests.

The screen­play ex­cuses the performers’ lack of ex­per­tise by ex­plain­ing that cheer­lead­ing is a rel­a­tively new sport in Aus­tralia. And so it is.

But movie­go­ers have seen plenty of pol­ished ex­am­ples.

Films such as Bring It On have set a high bench­mark.

Go­ing Tor Gold’s chore­og­ra­phy, by com­par­i­son, feels strictly am­a­teur.

The screen­play is also clunky.

The film might well ap­peal to young, wannabe gym­nasts and cheer­lead­ers, but its au­di­ence is ex­tremely lim­ited.

OPENS THURS­DAY

The com­pe­ti­tion heats up in Go­ing For Gold.

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