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By Michael Dequina | July 9, 2001

As far as the generally homogenized teen film genre goes, the premise for “Sugar & Spice” is pretty unique: a bunch of perky high school cheerleaders decide to rob a bank. Unfortunately, writer Mandy Nelson is only able to deliver her story’s daffy promise in fits and starts, and director Francine McDougall botches the tone. The subversive amusement stemming from snatches of funny dialogue and knowingly absurd situations (such as how the spirit leaders research their crime by watching various heist films), clashes against McDougall’s goal of painting the girls as strong, admirable women; after all, quirky caricatures can hardly be seen as noble. Attempting to pick up some slack are the actors, particularly Marley Shelton as the focal cheerleader, whose pregnancy by the school’s football star (James Marsden) sets the plot into motion.
A few minutes have been added to the film for its video release, but they don’t make the film any better. Four additional scenes, a couple of which are extended versions of scenes in the existing cut, are presented in the deleted scenes section. These bits were scrapped for obvious reasons: the two alternate takes were obviously excised to secure a PG-13 rating; the other two are throwaways that add nothing to the finished product. The rather standard set of supplements are rounded out by the theatrical trailer, cast and crew filmographies, and–amusingly–character profiles.
Nonetheless, this disc earns some bonus points for snazzy presentations. New Line prides itself on “setting the standard for standard editions,” and the clever animated menu design, patterned after a Monopoly game board, and section headings display a level of wit that is largely absent in the feature presentation.
Specifications: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame; English 5.1 Surround; English Dolby Surround; English subtitles; English closed captioning; DVD-ROM features.

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