Rating: (3 out of 5) Thursday, 10/23/2008, 5:00 PM Feature presentation, $0 at 6th & I Synagogue
READY? OK! I SAID brrrr. It’s cold in here. There must be some Toros in the atmosphere.
Oops. It’s nearly impossibly to hear ”Ready? OK!” and not lapse into Bring It On, the pinnacle of cheerleading movies in recent years. But writer and director James Vasquez has decided to add a little competition to the cheerleading film genre, and comes out with final product that’s cute but not without its missteps.
Little Josh (Lurie Poston) is every Catholic elementary school’s worst nightmare. He’s a free-thinker and his latent gay tendencies are more recognizable than Barbra Streisand’s nose. While the nuns are clutching their rosaries, Josh doesn’t understand why he can’t be on the cheerleading squad. If being a future Gay of America isn’t enough, he’s smart and tells the nun, ”I don’t want to break the rules, I want to change the rules.” Smart, gay and strategic? Problem.
Meanwhile, life at home is no less vexing: Single mom Andy (Carrie Preston) has the job from hell working for the local news station; deadbeat brother/uncle Alex (John G. Preston) has just rolled into town; and crazy but lovable grandma (Sandra Ellis-Troy) just moved out because she couldn’t stand living with her kids anymore. Gay neighbor Charlie (Lost‘s Michael Emerson) is the oasis in the madness, though his support of Josh’s cheerleading goal isn’t welcomed by mom.
First-time director Vasquez relies too heavily on fillers that try to be cute and entertaining, but really just take away from the good stuff — like breadcrumbs in a crab cake. Poston definitely grows into the role as the movie progresses, until the end when it’s hard to imagine that he’s anything but this little fledgling gay. Ready? OK! is much less about Josh’s acceptance – or even understanding – that he might be different and more his mother’s journey to accepting her son. Preston does an adequate job as Andy, but she never brings enough depth to any scene. As a Lost fanatic, it’s hard to see Emerson as anything other than creepy, but he’s quite engaging as the supportive neighbor ready to push Andy along when she’s stuck. Ready? OK! would have benefited greatly from more emotional investment from the actors and another round of editing, but is overall a nice, sweet family comedy. It’s far from perfect, but what family is?
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