Going for Gold, a cheerless Australian cheerleading film now available on Netflix, is deserving only of disqualification.
As I write this, I’m sat beside a little shelf full of cheerleading trophies, including one that I used as an ashtray when I was drunk. (It was only for third place. I’m not a monster.) The reason for this is the same reason I’ve seen – in some cases multiple times – all of the Bring It On films. My partner loves cheerleading. She owns and coaches a team. She choreographs routines. She stays up all night to watch the annual Cheerleading Worlds, accessible in the UK through a grossly overpriced subscription service. She’s a proper fan. And even she thinks Going for Gold is absolute horseshit.
That should tell you all you need to know about Going for Gold, a shambolic cheerleading movie made and set in suburban Adelaide and inflicted upon the rest of the world today, thanks to the enormous cruelty of Netflix.
Directed by Clay Glen and starring Kelli Berglund as the travelling daughter of an American airman, the film is determinedly, almost impressively awful, which might merit some sort of praise were Going for Gold not concerned with a generation of young people for whom I suspect there is no hope.
As far as the plot is concerned, the heroine’s neighbour (Emily Morris) convinces her to join a gymnastics team which is promptly disqualified from a competition thanks to the machinations of local bullies (Daisy Anderson; Elysia Markou). This egregious act of sabotage is to be combatted by the formation of a cheerleading squad, because of course it is, and all the while I was wondering who this might appeal to. I concluded quite quickly that the world has no use for such a thing.
Written with an ear for down-with-the-kids dialogue that could only belong to a man in his forties, possibly one from another planet entirely, Going for Gold suggests that Australian youth culture is best represented by an ensemble of inane teenagers slathered in flour. A geisha comparison would be apt if the cast were capable of any grace or poise, but the wobbly choreography suggests neither.