Exclaim!

Roll Bounce

Malcolm D. Lee

Roll Bounce
It's damning with faint praise to say that this is probably the best roller disco teen comedy possible, but faint praise is praise all the same, as the film manages to rise to the top of its limited form. Bow Wow plays a lower-middle-class rink rat, circa 1978, whose local roller palace has been unceremoniously shuttered, forcing a move uptown to a more posh locale. He's got the usual wacky friends with the usual wacky insults (and some wacky hair) alongside the beautiful girl he can't approach and the ugly duckling who blossoms into a bell-bottomed swan. But though the film follows the pap route to a T, it does it with conviction and enthusiasm. There's just enough drama with father Chi McBride to keep things from getting too frivolous and just enough teenage ranking to keep the drama from degenerating into bathos; it's just sincere enough to keep you from dismissing it out of hand. One regrets the sexism concerning the two female characters and that it doesn't look exactly like something from the year in which it was set. But there are nice turns by the supporting cast and a general lack of cynicism that's earned instead of imported. Those who like this sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like, and those of us older than 15 will know that things could be infinitely worse. Extras include three lively, if not pithy, commentaries with director Malcolm Lee solo, with Bow Wow and Mike Epps, and with writer Norman Vance, Jr., a middling "making of" featurette, a "kid gloves" profile of Bow Wow, a look at the film's '70s style, a couple of "newswraps" on skating competitions, six deleted scenes with commentary, a video for Brooke Valentine's "Boogie Oogie Oogie" and a gag reel. (Fox)
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