IT'S A SAD FACT that this summer's movies have all the appeal of a moist bag of donkey vomit. However, in the midst of this cinematic drought, a savior has finally appeared--and she's wearing a cheerleading outfit.

Bring It On is not only the best film of the summer, but possibly the best teen movie since Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Like Fast Times, director Peyton Reed captures the ludicrous, hormonal excitement of high school, while keeping a firm grasp on each character's humanity.

The story revolves around Torrance (Kirsten Dunst), a cheerleader who's just been announced as team captain of the nation's number one competitive cheerleading squad. Torrance is ready to take her co-ed team to their seventh national championship when she discovers a very disturbing fact: the former captain stole their routines from an all-black squad out of Compton. Overwhelmed by honky guilt, and with only a few weeks until the championships, Torrence must figure out a new routine, battle with mutinous members of the squad, and win the love of Cliff, a new student who couldn't be more different from herself.

While Bring It On is happy to laugh at the intensity with which these cheerleaders pursue their championship, it also takes great pains to humanize its characters, and delve into the tricky topic of creative assimilation. It's no great shock that much of our popular culture has been shanghaied from the artistic creativity of the black and gay communities. Bring It On, however, takes this realization a step further by asserting that true innovation doesn't come from just the mind of one person or race. Torrance learns that creativity is the culmination of opening oneself up to a world of experiences--or, to put a finer point on it--happiness comes from learning and stealing from everybody.

But don't worry! Regardless of the lofty ideas hidden within this film, there are plenty of dumb sex jokes to laugh at, plenty of hot bodies to ogle, and plenty of pep, Pep, PEP! And in a summer filled with depressingly obvious choices, Bring It On delivers the surprise we've been looking for.