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Studios are often clamoring to reach a certain audience, but movies are so expensive that the targets generally consist of certain broad age groups or genders, like small children or males between the ages of 15-25. But Supercross: The Movie suggests a move toward specialization as narrow the magazine world: Only the most devoted MX fetishists could like the film, because it doesn't offer a scrap of nourishment for the uninitiated. Touted as the second fastest-growing motor sport behind NASCAR—ahead of hydroplaning, which floundered earlier this year with its own niche movie Madison—supercross may be a hot ticket in the Xtreme world, but the magic that continues to draw fans won't find any new ones here. Whatever excitement may have been drummed up by the racing footage is immediately squelched by the dramatic scenes, which have been so perfunctorily realized that the actors might as well be looking at their watches.


Left to fend for themselves after their father dies under mysterious circumstances—a mystery that is introduced and never resolved—brothers Steve Howey and Mike Vogel scrape by cleaning pools while they hone their considerable skills on MX bikes. When a major sponsor catches wind of Howey's raw talent, they sign him to a "factory" contract and race him alongside their poster boy Channing Tatum. Meanwhile, Vogel takes up an offer from girlfriend's father (Robert Patrick), a biking enthusiast who convinces him to compete as a non-sponsored "privateer." All roads lead to the Las Vegas Motocross Championships, though not nearly fast enough.

Since the focus is on the track, the filmmakers are not out to reinvent the wheel, but for such a simple piece of formula storytelling, they do a remarkably poor job of dotting I's and crossing T's. After Vogel loses the pinks slip to his truck in a motorcycle drag race, he shows up in the same truck a few scenes later as if nothing had happened. When Howey starts dating a rich girl (Sophia Bush), their class differences are introduced as a big issue, but there's no follow-through there, either. Teen heartthrob Aaron Carter shows up as an early rival, but then says a few awkward lines and leaves. Surely the three-hour director's version will clear things up on DVD, but the current cut rushes hastily to the racing sequences, which have a boring mini-formula of their own (establishing shots of roaring crowds and hot racing groupies, taunts from the villains, resolve from the heroes, wheelies popped, major air achieved, et al.). Of course, for those whose ear's perk up at something called Supercross: The Movie, mileage may vary.