Release Date: September 23rd, 2005 by Fox Searchlight.
The Cast: Bow Wow, Chi Bride, Wesley Jonathan, Meagon Good, Mike Epps, Nick Cannon, Jurnee Smollett.
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee.
BASIC PREMISE: Xavier (Bow Wow) and his friends compete for the top prize in roller skating at the Sweetwater Roller Rink.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Set in 1978, this movie is pure entertainment with plenty of great music and lots of energy from its talented young cast. Bow Wow is very likable and often funny as the talented roller skater who is called X by his family and friends. He doesn't really have much of a family, though, because he just lives with his father (McBride) and his mother died when he was very young. X's father shows disapproval for his son's roller skating hobby--he doesn't spend enough time with his son to truly understand him. While delivering newspapers in the morning in his roller-skates, he bumps into Tori (Smollett), a cute girl with braces who also shares his passion for roller-skating. He soon meets Naomi (Good) who seems out of his league until she sees his talent at the rink. The movie really kicks into high gear once X and his friends find out about a roller-skating competition with the top prize of 500 dollars, which he could really use. The problem is that they are now dealing with the big boys: Sweetness (Jonathan) and his team have a long winning streak at the competition. Nick Cannon is hilarious as Bernard, who is in charge of giving roller-skates at the rink In a very funny scene, he tells a contestant that girls like guys with bigger roller-skate sizes, so he hands him a large size while hot babes giggle and smile in he background. No matter who is skating, it is always fun to watch them skate to the beat of hot 70's music. Those skating scenes are very well-shot and the fast pace is very appropriate. The ending is not very surprising and it doesn't really matter whether X ultimately chooses Tori or Naomi. There's also a slightly contrived romance between X's father and Tori's mother. However, the music is so exciting that clapping your hands and moving to its beat is very hard to resist---even while sitting in your seat.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: It is very uplifting to watch X follow his passion--and skill--for roller-skating, especially when he competes against an intimidating team at the final competition. X's relationship with his father is also interesting, especially in a moving scene when his father gives him a very special, appropriate present. It would have been nice if he actually talked to his son more often, but at least he shows up to watch his son compete. The most uplifting part of this movie is the very upbeat, nostalgic 70's music that is destined to put a smile on your face.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Mostly formulaic, unoriginal plot and characters.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: Although it says nothing new and has a formulaic plot, it is irresistibly entertaining with its upbeat 70's music. Its energy rolls and bounces right off the screen!
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "R" Menu