Roll Bounce

"OK"

Roll Bounce Review


If the roller-disco nostalgia comedy "Roll Bounce" didn't have Malcolm D. Lee in the director's chair, it would be downright unwatchable.

Built on a sloppy, fill-in-the-blanks plot, it follows a group of rollerskate-crazy 1970s teens from Chicago's tough South Side as they're forced to migrate to trendy North Side roller disco because their run-down local rink has been shuttered. This leads inevitably to a into a rivalry with hot-shot locals and a "skate-off" finale, and the story couldn't be more stale if the script itself were a dusted-off relic from the Jimmy Carter era.

But Lee has a gift for finding gold nuggets of personality and comedy in the tailings of over-mined plots. He turned 1999's contrived reunion/wedding flick "The Best Man" into a character-rich dramedy and exploited the stupidity of 2002's "Undercover Brother" for great laughs. In "Roll Bounce," he makes up for the shopworn, thoroughly predictable source material by punching up the comedy and hiring talented young stars to flesh out the stock characters.

Maturing kiddie hip-hopper Bow Wow -- whose dazzling charm also helped the childrens' basketball flick "Like Mike" rise above its script -- plays Xavier ("X" to his friends), the teenage rollerskating protagonist from the wrong side of the tracks. His buddies include Rick Gonzales ("The Rookie," "Coach Carter"), Khleo Thomas ("Holes," "Baadasssss!"), and gal-pal Jurnee Smollett ("Eve's Bayou"), each of whom provides genuine individuality and friendly smack-down humor in these supporting roles.

The movie is actually at its best away from the roller rink, when Lee can focus on the comedy that comes from these personalities, even as the elementary plot clunks along in telegraphed fits and starts about friendships and family struggles (Chi McBride is superb as his unemployed, recently widowed father). But X's rivalry with a ridiculous, arrogant, one-dimensional disco king nicknamed Sweetness (Wesley Jonathan) -- who comes complete with an entourage of fawning bimbos and sequin-attired toadies -- inevitably leads to a well-shot but rather anti-climactic showdown during a $500 contest to crown a king of the uptown rink.

And, of course, there's a love interest -- jawdroppingly gorgeous Meagan Good ("Eve's Bayou," "Biker Boyz"), who at age 23 is conspicuously older than teenaged Bow Wow.

While also overly self-indulgent at 112 minutes, "Roll Bounce" rises above its considerable flaws not just with likable characters and an amusing quick wit, but also through Lee's visceral sense of period nostalgia. Fueled by great skating, a great funk soundtrack, horrible clothes, and big afros, Lee plies the picture with flashback-educing touches of authenticity, like curfews that begin when the streetlights come on, AM/FM radio headsets with retractable antennae extending from each cumbersome earphone, and energetic split-screen dance sequences.

So while "Roll Bounce" may have one of the most shopworn, cliché-riddled, minimal-effort scripts of 2005, the end result is an entertaining Saturday matinee that's hard not to like.



Roll Bounce

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd September 2005

Production compaines: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Bernard, as Xavier 'X' Smith, as Curtis Smith, as Naomi Phillips, as Junior, as Byron, as Troy, as Sweetness, Marcus T. Paulk as Boo, as Naps, as Tori, as Mixed Mike, as Vivian, as Victor

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.