"Feels Like Kids Skate"
What You Need To Know:
ROLL BOUNCE has a simple plot that would not be out of place in a children’s movie. The filmmakers seem confused about their target audience, since the core material is clearly for children, but there are two casual uses of the ‘n’ word. There is a light moral theme about forgiveness and some light foul language. Regardless, the acting is too amateur, and the movie drags on too long. Essentially a television movie about rollerskating, ROLL BOUNCE misses its target.
(B, C, LL, V, S, A, M) Light moral perspective with forgiveness; 15 light obscenities, one light profanity, two racial epithets for African-Americans used by African-Americans, and teenager extends his middle finger; teenager vandalizes father’s car in a fit of anger; young men ogle women and pat woman on rear; no nudity; man refuses drink at party where other people are drinking; no smoking; and, lying is rebuked.
ROLL BOUNCE is a celebration of the apparently carefree days of the disco era, but the filmmakers don’t seem sure who their movie is designed for.
Xavier, played by the R&B artist Bow Wow, lives in a black suburb in the late 70s and spends his summers at the rollerrink. He and his friends are disappointed to find that their local rink is going out of business and that they’ll have to go to the northside and skate with snobby youth. They encounter a skater called Sweetness who awes everyone. Xavier and his friends decide to practice hard and challenge Sweetness in the skating competition at the end of the summer.
A sideplot has teenaged Xavier trying to get along with his father. Both are grieving the loss of Xavier’s mother. The father is nervous about being a single parent and, on top of his problems at home, has been laid off at work. Father and son have to learn to be honest with each other before their home can return to normal.
ROLL BOUNCE has a simple plot that would not be out of place in a made-for-Disney Channel movie. Likewise, the humor is squarely aimed at young teenagers or pre-teens. It is baffling, therefore, why the movie is being presented to a general audience, or why the normally arty Fox Searchlight company would present it. The filmmakers themselves seem confused about who their target audience is. The core material is clearly for young people, but there are two casual uses of the ‘n’ word and an intense scene where Xavier, in a fit of repressed anger, smashes his dad’s car.
There is a light moral theme about forgiveness and light foul language, save the use of racial epithets. The movie’s essential purity is another indicator that it was partially intended for young audiences.
With a sensibility geared for kids, ROLL BOUNCE will not fare well with adults. The acting is too amateur, the story too bland, and there is simply too much footage of rollerskating. Imagine if FIELD OF DREAMS had filmed an entire baseball game. This movie doesn’t have baseball, however, it has amateur actors rollerskating.
Essentially a television movie about rollerskating in the disco era, ROLL BOUNCE misses its target, whatever that was.