Free Style

Free Style

1.0 out of 51.0 out of 51.0 out of 51.0 out of 5 1.0

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For High School Musical fans unwaveringly devoted to Corbin Bleu, Free Style provides ample opportunity to swoon over the former East High basketballer’s big floppy hair and Disney Channel-grade emoting. In the latest from Harry and the Hendersons helmer William Dear, Bleu is Cale, a wannabe motocross pro with countless problems: his single mom (Penelope Anne Miller) is financially strapped and gets into a car accident; his girlfriend (Tegan Moss) fools around with his evil rival (Matt Bellefleur); his absentee father (Michael Ryan) doesn’t want anything to do with him; and the dad of his new love interest Alex (Sandra Echeverria) would like him to disappear. Though burdened by such issues, most of which contain some facile socio-economic or racial component, Cale remains an honest, hard-working, never-say-die sweetheart, so much so that he even tolerates his friend’s (Jesse Moss) unbearable habit of punctuating every sentence with “bro!” Piling on dramatic conflicts destined to be resolved in fairy tale fashion, Free Style never gets out of first gear save for when it successfully panders to its target audience, who will undoubtedly be pleased with the soundtrack inclusion of Nickelback and the sight of a shirtless Bleu. Still, regardless of this fleeting nudity, Dear’s film is an aggressively chaste affair, to the point that it avoids any images of drinking even when implying that people are drunk, and has Bleu express mild shock and dismay at his little sister Bailey (Madison Pettis) uttering the unspeakable profanity “fart-head.” Motocross thrills, meanwhile, are negated by close-ups that are too tight and editing that leaves spatial dynamics perplexing. Ultimately, the only thing going for Free Style is its initial blasé attitude toward mixed race families. Any pleasure one might take from such open-mindedness, however, is quickly torn asunder by Bailey asking Cale, “Are we black or white?” and Cale cornily responding, “We’re whack,” an anachronistic term that nonetheless ably describes this family-friendly twaddle.

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DVD
Distributor
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Runtime
94 min
Rating
PG
Year
2008
Director
William Dear
Screenwriter
Jeffrey Nicholson, Joshua Liebner
Cast
Corbin Bleu, Madison Pettis, Sandra Echeverria, Tegan Moss, Matt Bellefleur, Michael Ryan, Jesse Moss, Penelope Ann Miller