Francine McDougall’s satirical comedy Sugar & Spice is eccentric, witty, and creative. It is a far cry from Academy Award caliber, but nevertheless succeeds at entertaining and amusing the audience.
The setting is Lincoln High School, a typical fictional high school consisting of football players, cheerleaders, and everyone else. The A-squad cheerleaders are a quintet of Madonna loving, bubble gum blowing, pom-pom carrying teenagers whose biggest concern is doing their cheers correctly.
When head cheerleader Diane Weston (Marley Shelton) becomes pregnant by the star quarterback, Jack Bartlett played by James Marsden (Cyclops in X-Men), the couple’s world is turned upside down. The lack of approval from their parents forces Jack and Diane to enter the real world a little before their time.
So, the struggle begins. Jack and Diane are barely making ends meet. Jack cannot hold a job and Diane is forced to take matters into her own hands.
Diane never loses the support of her fellow cheerleaders, and on “girls night out” Diane has an epiphany. Robbing a bank can solve all of her financial troubles. With Hannah’s proclamation (Rachel Blanchard from UPN’s “Clueless”), “Only the devil would turn you against your sisters,” the girls began their preparation. First, the girls do research. They study films such as Heat, Reservoir Dogs, Point Blank and Dog Day Afternoon for ideas. Then the girls visit Kansas’ mom (Mena Suvari) in prison for advice. They learn simple rules of thumb (rob the bank after a holiday, purchase weapons from the exterminator).
The film is told in flashbacks and narrated by Lisa Janusch (Marla Sokoloff of “The Practice”) a B-squad cheerleader longing to be a part of the popular A-squad. Her commentary is funny, interesting and dynamic.
The slapstick humor in Sugar & Spice could have been left out however. Diane’s gaseous state as a result of her pregnancy is an ongoing joke. Overall, the humor is not entirely overdone and there are a lot of pop culture references.
Every once and awhile, everyone needs to see a film that takes the mind away from reality and into an imaginary world– one that is somewhat outlandish but still enjoyable. Sugar & Spice is that film.
After viewing Sugar & Spice, only one question remains– why does Hollywood pick twenty-somethings to play teenagers?
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