Roll Bounce (DVD)
THE MOVIE Few movies promising the roller-skate jams actually deliver, but to do so with such innocuous, boundless glee is what makes Roll Bounce such a gumball of a treat. It’s an unabashedly nostalgic tour through late-1970s fashions, hairdos, funky R&B, and after-school special mores all interspersed between goofy PG-13 comedy and hip-shaking roller-skate dancing that would straighten the wings in Deney Terrio’s hair. And as such, nitpicking Roll Bounce’s seen-it-before plot and cliché-ridden life lessons is as pointless as protest.
Teenaged Xavier (Bow Wow, rocking a close-cropped ’fro) loves to skate with his boys, but since his mom died he’s had to help his dad (Chi McBride) out around the house and watch his baby-girl sister—and the Southside Chicago skating rink where he hangs had to close down. To get their skate on, X and his crew—big ups to Rick Gonzalez for rocking a ’do not seen since Robert Hegyes in his prime—have to bus it up north to the froufrou Sweetland rink, where a slick cat called Sweetness (Wesley Jonathan) rules the coop, and X and his boys have to step up their game to become men—or something like that. No matter: Director Malcolm Lee threads together plot-pushing scenes that never quite gel as far as X’s family drama is concerned, but Bounce exists primarily to drop in some silly, if phoned-in, cameos from Mike Epps, Charlie Murphy, and Wayne Brady and drag up the always game Nick Cannon in some Jimi Hendrix frills en route to the inevitable X vs. Sweetness skate-off showdown. And if Roll Bounce doesn’t quite hit Drumline heights—but, really, what does?—it effortlessly succeeds in leaving a puddle of giggles in its wake.
THE DISC And as befitting one of 2005’s movies most likely to leave a perma-smile on the face, the DVD comes with mo’ fun than a V.I.P. marathon. In addition to a shamelessly jokey commentary track from Epps, Lee, and Bow Wow and the usual making-of featurette, the Bounce extras include deleted scenes—including a corny ’n’ cute girls’ bathroom sequence involving X’s neighbor gal pal Tori (the scene-stealing, super-sassy Jurnee Smollett)—a soundtrack mini spot and “Boogie Oogie Oogie” video from Brooke Valentine with Fabolous and Yo-Yo, a gag reel, a 1970s-style featurette, and two newsreel clips packages from the preopening promotional tour that sent some of the stars through cities to judge actual skate-offs. Tight.