Jumping for Joy | Chicago Reader

Jumping for Joy

Set in a small Idaho town, this drama by writer-director Timothy J. Nelson revisits the conformity and gender prejudices of the early 60s, as a tomboyish farm girl with a mean slam dunk (Lindsay Pulsipher) is mistaken for a boy and invited to join a second-rate high school baetball team. Of course, after she steers the team toward a championship her secret tumbles out, shocking her coach, her teammates, and school officials. Nelson doesn't push the feminist rhetoric too hard, stressing the importance of solidarity (a natural leader, the girl inspires her team), though the heroine's appealing androgyny is a quiet argument for gender fluidity. The film's ending is abrupt and predictable (followed by a coda decades later, in which the woman is honored for her pioneering role in women's sports), but these drawbacks fail to diminish Pulsipher's feisty, winsome performance. With Joe Estevez and Victoria Jackson. 90 min.

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