Misfit 'Spork' dances with glee

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Savannah Stehlin is Spork, a gawky middle-school "she/he."

Reimagine Napoleon Dynamiteas an episode of Glee set in a racially polarized middle school. Now you get the jiggy vibe of Spork, a potty and potty-mouthed junior-high school musical that is by turns both energetic and slack.

The film is named for the gawky, frizz-haired, bespectacled middle-school misfit played by Savannah Stehlin, herself named for the utensil that's a combination spoon and fork. That's because Spork's sexual equipment likewise is dual-functioned. The mean girls at school, led by ringleader Betsy Byotch (Rachel G. Fox), rebuff Spork as a "she/he."

Given that Spork's mother is dead and her supermacho father isn't the most emotionally sensitive guy (although one of his many girlfriends does gift her with a lipstick), she lives in a kind of social and sexual Siberia.

Fortunately, Spork's neighbor in the trailer park is Tootsie Roll (Sydney Park, the Philadelphia-born pepperpot), who pushes Spork from the wings to the center stage of the school "dance-off."

The means by which Tootsie teaches the awkward Spork how to dance is quite funny; the stereotypes of trash-talking blond mean girls and no-nonsense African American homegirls are less so.

The film written and directed by J.B. Ghuman Jr. boasts a peppy hip-hop soundtrack and an attitude that might be summed up as: Down with either/or, up with both/and.


Contact film critic Carrie Rickey at 215-854-5402 or crickey@phillynews.com. Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://www.philly.com/flickgrrl/.

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