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Cutting Edge - Going for the Gold, The

Sony Pictures // PG-13 // March 28, 2006
List Price: $24.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Cornelius | posted March 27, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Here it is, finally, the movie you've all been waiting for: "The Cutting Edge: Going For the Gold."

This se-- What's that? Mm hmm. Mm hmm. I see. OK. So you have not been waiting for "The Cutting Edge: Going For the Gold?" None of you? Not even you in the back? Hmm? Oh, you also haven't been eagerly looking forward to "The Net 2.0" or "American Pie Presents Band Camp?" How about "The Prince & Me 2?" No? OK, by show of hands, is anyone out there at all interested in any of the dozens of direct-to-video sequels the studios have been churning out lately? Anyone? Anyone? Hello? Is this thing on?

Yes, "The Cutting Edge: Going For the Gold" is another DTV sequel that nobody wanted. I'm certain the studios - in this case, MGM - understand this, and that they're only pumping these things out in massive numbers because the combination of ultra-cheap production and DVD rental/purchase costs that are low enough to not get in the way of impulse-buy curiosity adds up to a slew of forgettable products (not movies, but products) that are just profitable enough to keep executives wanting more.

And like most DTV sequels, "The Cutting Edge: Going For the Gold" (the title is so ridiculous that I can't help but say the whole thing) is a sequel in name only; no characters, cast members, or behind-the-scenes staffers return for this new film. It is merely a movie that kinda has the same story idea as the original, just enough to pass it off on the name recognition factor. Perhaps the reasoning here is if the name recognition doesn't pay off during the pre-release buzz, the title can be changed and nobody would really notice. (Oddly, such a non-sequel has a serious chance of backfiring, alienating the very fans the studio wishes to attract; it's quite possible that those eagerly looking for the continuing adventures of Moira Kelly and D. B. Sweeney would look at this release with as much disdain as the rest of us do.)

Here's what we get: Christy Carlson Romano (best known from the Disney Channel sitcom "Even Stevens" and as the voice of Kim Possible on the cartoon of the same name) plays ace skater Jackie Dorsey, who takes a rough fall while attempting a triple Axel, her career seemingly ended by the injury. On vacation during the summer following, she meets cute with hunky "extreme" sports wiz Alex (newcomer Ross Thomas), and because we've seen "The Cutting Edge," we quickly understand that he'll soon have to give up his skateboarding ways and help out on the ice, especially when Jackie decides she wants to head to Torino for the Olympics, despite being seemingly out of commission. And you can bet the two will wind up pulling off a triple Axel or two, just to show 'em.

The good news is that screenwriter Daniel Berendsen steals nothing else from the original film, so we don't get the boredom of watching a pale imitation. The bad news is that there is no more good news. Berendsen's script is a real slog, ranging from uninspired romance to uninspired slapstick to uninspired sports drama. The dialogue is notably worthless, marked with cliché after cliché.

Curiously, the movie sets itself up to be a family-friendly romantic comedy, but Berendsen's screenplay constantly skews older. There's a major plot point regarding Alex's would-be other girlfriend, with one scene having them shower together (nothing is shown, but we can assume they weren't just shampooing in there). Sexual goings-on may be realistic for characters of this age, of course (they're in their early twenties, or, at least, they look like they are), but everything else about the movie suggests it's intended for the preteen crowd. (The film even got an early showing on the ABC Family channel before its video debut.) Why, then, toss in such grown-up things into such an otherwise junior high movie? (By the way, this is not me being prudish, but me scratching my head at the unevenness of the film's intent.)

Our director is Sean McNamara, the auteur behind "Raise Your Voice," "Treehouse Hostage," and (yes!) "3 Ninjas: High Noon At Mega Mountain," and his style is to point the camera at something, preferably the cast, and make sure that if the movie can't be made well, at least it can be made at all. And if the actors bother to show any interest in their roles, then hey, more power to them, but there's no reason for McNamara to insist they actually bother with solid performances.

In other words, yes, "The Cutting Edge: Going For the Gold" is in fact as awful as it looks.

The DVD

Video


For a brand-new feature made expressly for the home video market, the image quality here is surprisingly lousy. There's an ugly amount of film grain, especially in darker scenes (such as the opening sequences that rely on a dark arena and bright spotlights). Even when the grain goes away, the whole thing's soft and flat. This is a terrible transfer. Presented in its original widescreen (1.78:1) with anamorphic enhancement.

Audio

The soundtrack fares slightly better, with a Dolby 5.1 mix that's not too notable but not workable enough to get by. A French 5.1 track is also included, as are optional English and French subtitles.

Extras

The commentary, featuring McNamara, Romano, and Thomas, is as uninteresting as the movie itself - it's another let's-ramble-on-about-how-much-fun-we-had tracks that mostly consists of the trio saying how much they liked this shot or that actress. Yawn.

"Beyond the Ice" is equally forgettable, a fluff-heavy EPK-style making-of. Interestingly, the filmmakers mention the original film in passing, but never once talk about how one makes a sequel without actually making a sequel. Double yawn.

The "Movie Montage" is a makeshift music video that offers up various shots from the film set to a particularly dopey late 80s rock-ish song performed by Romano. Even less thrilling is the "animated photo gallery" that looks like a hastily produced PowerPoint slideshow presentation, with publicity pics clicking by as we hear the movie's theme music. Wake me up if I start snoring too loudly.

Rounding out the package is Sony's usual stack of trailers, most of which have nothing in common with the feature film.

Final Thoughts

"The Cutting Edge: Going For the Gold" is, like so many DTV quickies before it, a complete waste of everyone's time. Even those who prefer their films fluffy and slight will find this remarkably sloppy and dull. It might go for the gold, but it only winds up with the agony of defeat. Skip It.
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