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/.


Spork

Directed by J.B. Ghuman Jr.. With Oana Gregory, Savannah Stehlin, Rachel G. Fox, Keith David, Michael William Arnold, Chad Allen, Yeardley Smith, Sydney Park, Elaine Hendrix, Beth Grant. Distributed by Independent Pictures.

Running time: 1 hours, 26 minutes.

Parent's guide: Unrated ().