She’s a break-dancer. Believe it, or not.
Director’s J. B. Ghuman Jr SPORK (2010) has added yet another, in a long line of indie films that feature teenage outcasts as the anti-hero of sorts. This time, we come across a movie that doesn’t necessarily fit into a particular niche of teenage angst films, but one of underlying triumph–and 90’s hip-hop dance music. Ghuman’s musical comedy featured at the Tribeca Film Festival (2010), stars an awkward, frizzy-haired 14-year old named “Spork” (Savannah Stehlin), who lives with her greasy head older brother in a silver bullet trailer with a DeLorean permanently parked out front, and complete with a graveyard out back. Unfortunately, this is her life.
Emerging from under a pile of dirty laundry, Spork begins her day filled in ridicule, mostly due to her unique physical make-up. She survives partly due to her energetic, fast-talking best friend Tootsie Roll (Sydney Park) who dispenses hard-won advice and dance techniques. The entire story revolves around a dance competition: Tootsie Roll is determined to win because she could use the money to visit her father in prison, and Spork would like to win because she could use the money to become beautiful. However, there is a problem. Betsy Beyotch (Rachel G. Fox), head of the Beyotches, is in need of a nose job (due to an unfortunate basketball incident) and will do anything it takes to win.
Tootsie Roll misses out on her chance to compete–she suffered a hair-product related injury. It was now up to Spork to defeat Betsy and her Beyotches in a fierce dance competition. When everything was all said and done, as expected, our beloved oddball heroine wins the competition with an impressive breakdance routine.
The film touch upon several concerning and controversial topics: bullying, sexism, racism, and homophobia. Spork’s only friends are black girls, who spend most of the film “booty shaking” and exchanging foul-mouthed banter back and forth at each other. Charlie (Michael William Arnold) who has a crush on Spork, is raised by two gay parents and has to defend his sexual identity to his peers; and the Beyotch’s are a group of all-American, trash talking blondes–an entourage of mean girls–who pretty much make our crew of misfits lives complicated.
What writer/director Ghuman did was create a necessary dialogue that mocks societal stereotypes using nontraditional methods and blending of time periods (80’s versus 90’s style). Britney Spears and hip-hop music in storytelling is an unusual style of comedic indie filmmaking.
Despite all the foul-mouthed banter that flows from many of the films insult full scenes, Spork is a truly unique, oddball tale of triumph over adversity.
Unexpectedly entertaining, it is worth a look.