Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut in “Whip It,” a film that centers around the world of roller derby.
Ellen Page stars as Bliss, a shy, seventeen-year-old, high-school student who is pushed by her mother to contend in beauty pageants.
As one might imagine, Bliss gets a little sick and tired of the same old routine and convinces her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) to drive her to Austin, to see what the whole roller derby scene is about.
There, she runs into her future boyfriend, Oliver (Landon Pigg), a bohemian rocker who frequents the warehouse where the roller derby takes place.
Eventually, after a little convincing from one of the roller derby participants, Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), Bliss tries out for the roller derby team. Sure enough, due to Bliss’s speed, she makes the cuts.
She continues to be successful in the roller derby league, and turns her team of losers into a competitive force.
Of course, there are always bumps along the way.
Her mother discovers Bliss is participating in the roller derby, and the championship game is on the same day as the big pageant.
Oh, no, how will this whole thing work out?! I’m not a jerk, so I won’t tell you.
The question is, should you go see it? The answer: maybe.
There really is nothing too special about this film. Most of it is too cliché for my taste.
In simplest terms, it’s about a nerdy girl (Ellen Page, nerdy?) who finds passion in something her mother doesn’t like.
Naturally, these differences are overcome despite the fact that parents just don’t understand.
At the climax we’re left wondering if the mother will show up to watch her daughter compete and if Bliss’ team will win.
But it doesn’t really matter, given the fact that we will all learn a lesson at the end.
However, the movie does shine in some aspects.
The world of roller derby is certainly unique and something that I’ve never really seen captured in a film.
All the characters in that derby warehouse are fun and unique.
Razor (Andrew Wilson) is a serious coach, who just happens to wear skimpy jean shorts.
Her teammates, Rosa Sparks (Eve), and Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore) also play fun characters that accompany Bliss on her roller derby journey. Bloody Holly (Zoe Bell) plays Bliss’ witchy rival (because we all know that every competitor needs a rival.)
And even the announcer, ‘Hot Tub’ Johnny Rocket (Jimmy Fallon), is an amusing character in this package deal.
The environment that director Drew Barrymore establishes is unique and fun to watch.
It almost made you want to be a part of the roller derby.
Kristen Wiig did an amazing job as Maggie Mayhem.
Maggie served not only as another colorful character in the roller derby crew, but, more importantly, supplied a sense of realism in a very bizarre environment.
The film seems to achieve the bare minimum requirements of a decent movie.
There is nothing unique about the storyline. I feel like if you’ve seen any sports movie, you’ve already seen “Whip It.”
However, adding the flavor of the roller derby might entice some moviegoers to this movie, although I wouldn’t spend eight bucks on it.
“Whip It” is good, but not great enough for me to give an overwhelming recommendation. It’s final grade: C+