Roll, Bounce (2005)

Rated PG-13

Starring: Chad “Bow Wow” Moss, Nick Cannon, Meegan Good and Chi McBride

Rated: PG-13 Comedy/Drama/Music

Set in Chicago, Illinois, Roll, Bounce occurs in 1978.  It is the story of teenager and avid roller-skater, Xavier “X” Smith (Bow Wow), attempting to adjust to the trials that accompany the transition into young adulthood.  Trying to assist X’s adjustment are his father, Curtis Smith (Chi McBride), and his childhood friend, Naomi Phillips (Meagan Good), on who he has a crush.  However, his father has his own struggles, including rearing X and daughter, Sonya (Busisiwe Irvin) while still dealing with the death of his wife and children’s mother.

X finds comfort and camaraderie skating with his friends, Junior (Brandon T. Jackson), Naps (Ricky Gonzalez), Mixed Mike (Khleo Thomas) and Boo (Marcus T. Paulk) at the local roller rink, Palisades, on the South Side.  They are shocked when it is closed and forced to travel north to skate at Sweetwater, an upper-scale rink.  X’s crew is surprised to learn how mediocre and uncool their moves are when compared with the skaters at Sweetwater.  After being dismissed by the rink’s skate distributor, Bernard, a.k.a. “B-nard” (Nick Cannon) and others at the rink, X and his friends enter a disco-skate contest.  They have serious competition, notably Sweetness (Wesley Jonathan), and the Sweetwater Rollers, his crew. 

As X practices, he becomes more irresponsible regarding his family and unsure of his standing with Naomi.  Viewers must watch to see how it all turns out for X and his crew!

Roll, Bounce received mixed to positive reviews from critics.  However, it is highly favored for the groove-drenched music, the scenes of the amazing skate choreography and its humor, especially the all-too-brief scenes starring Charlie Murphy and Mike Epps.

The film’s title is sourced from the R & B anthem, “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll”, by Vaughan Mason & Crew.  Roll, Bounce featured tracks of the 1970s by artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Kool & The Gang, Chic, Foxy, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Bill Withers, whose “Lovely Day” accompanies the film’s trailer.  The soundtrack also contained material from contemporary artists including Beyoncé, Fabolous, Yo-Yo and Keith Sweat.  Additionally, there were classic tracks, such “Fire” by Ohio Players, “Love to Love You, Baby” by Donna Summer, “Flashlight” by Parliament, “Pick Up the Pieces” by Average White Band and “He’s the Greatest Dancer” by Sister Sledge, that were played in the film but not included on the soundtrack.

Roll, Bounce was nominated for eight 2006 awards, of which it won two.  It was nominated for a two Black Movie Awards Malcolm D. Lee for “Outstanding Achievement in Directing” and Norman Vance, Jr. for “Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting”.  Lee was also nominated for a NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Directing in a Feature Film/Television Movie”.  Roll, Bounce was nominated, including for “Best Soundtrack”, for four Black Reel Awards.  Lee was up for “Best Director” and casting director Monica Swann was in the running for “Best Ensemble”. 

The two winners of a Black Reel Award for Roll, Bounce were Brandon T. Jackson for “Best Breakthrough Performance” and Norman Vance, Jr. for “Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted”.