I've already botched my attempt to do a horror related blog every day in October, anyway, so screw it. I'll get back to the horror soon, but today I'm going to do a quick review of Drew Barrymore's directorial debut Whip It.
Bliss (Ellen Page) is a fairly typical 17 year old girl whose mother pushes her to take part in beauty pageants. It's not exactly her thing, but there doesn't seem to be much else to do in her small hometown of Bodeen. Then one day Bliss discovers there is a roller derby team based out of nearby Austin. She goes to see a match and decides to try out. This being a sports movie, the team Bliss tries out for are the roller derby equivalent of the Bad News Bears, perenial losers The Hurl Scouts.
The plot hits a lot of the beats you'd expect a movie like this to hit, and by the end there's probably more extraneous drama piled on than necessary. On the plus side, Whip It has a few unexpected twists on the usual formula, the characters are likable, and the jokes are funny and flow naturally from the situations. It's not a great movie, but it's an enjoyable one.
Ellen Page is excellent in the lead, playing a more vulnerable and realistic teenager than she did in 'Juno' and coming across as completely believable. Good supporting cast, too, including director Barrymore, Alia Shawkat, Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig, and an almost unrecognizable Jimmy Fallon. As for Barrymore's direction, it's nothing flashy. Just solid meat and potatoes storytelling, which is fine in my book. 3 out of 4 stars.