Title: Whip It
Year: 2009
Run Time: 111 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Teen drama
Cast: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Alia Shawkat, Landon Pigg
Director: Drew Barrymore

Plot:
Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page), is a small town girl with a control freak mum (Marcia Gay Harden). Her mum believes that she has a future in beauty pageants and is on a quest to make her a Miss America, despite Bliss having no interest in the pageants. Bliss and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat), go to Austin to watch roller derby and she’s immediately hooked and returns to try out for one of the teams, The Hurl Scouts. She makes the team and competes in the roller derby league and somehow has to keep this from her strict mother. Along the way she finds love in a young rocker, Oliver (Landon Pigg) and a new family among her teammates.

“Let’s go apeshit.”

This was a refreshing view after what had been a disappointing few weeks in movies for me. Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut in this charming coming of age indie and she does deliver. She clearly a has a keen eye for talent and creative shots (you’ll enjoy the skating scenes) and the lead performer is just great. The plot isn’t exactly a predictable one with one or two good twists and it does have quite a feel good atmosphere. It does tackle some good themes and the humour comes in good doses, not too forced if you know what I mean. The dialogue feels very natural and is well written. I also liked the teen romance, found it sweet (take notes ‘Twilight’ franchise). Though not the best movie I’ve seen, for a first timer, you’ve done good Drew.

What works:
Ellen Page! She is simply amazing! It’s really a shame she won’t get many nominations for this role but she does carry the day. She brings Bliss to life in a sweet and charming way. If you need any reason to see this movie, then it should be for her performance.
Drew Barrymore’s directing. (hold on, it could be just beginners luck)
Marcia Gay Harden plays her role brilliantly. Her emotional reactions to Bliss’ behaviour seemed very natural.
Daniel Stern and Kristen Wiig.
Jimmy Fallon. Though he has a small role, his lines are quite funny.
Probably the next best sex scene after The Messengers.
The soundtrack is really cool.

What doesn’t work:
Drew Barrymore’s acting. I just didn’t buy the whole i’ll-kick-your-ass act. She should just have stayed behind the lens.
Razor (Andrew Wilson) and Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis) feel a bit trying-to-hard and unnatural.

Who will enjoy this movie:
Anyone looking for a feel good movie

Must see? Yes. Must Have? Not really. Rent it then decide if you need a copy for home.

My Score: 8.5 out of 10

“Well put some skates on and be your own hero.”