Nothing to cheer about in this battle of the underdogs
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.
The competition heats up in Going For Gold.