Drew Barrymore is a celebrity in the true sense of the word. A step apart from the rest, she dares to be different. The type of acting she’s done with that quirky charm translates on screen in her latest, her directorial debut, Whip It.
Whip It is a fresh whip on a time-tested formula, the kind that makes those two-bit Disney TV tween movies (like High School Musical…prime example). The formula in question is person with boring life (or popular), looking for something new, gets introduced to this new culture/sport, makes friends and has fun, but wait, reality brings said person crashing back to Earth and suddenly everything is in a shit hole. But then, your parents/friends come to know about your other life, senti stuff happens and then whoo-hoo you succeed in both ventures. You slap your head and say OH! That formula!!!
But then what Whip It does is introduce a whole new culture into the story: women’s roller derby. And it does just what The Wrestler did for wrestling; it gives an honest approach to the sport, not stylized bullshit like in all those inspiring american football games. The next cool thing it does is cast Ellen Page, the only person who can pull off a role like this. After her know-it-all role in Juno, Page gives some top notch acting in a girl struggling with adolescence and searching for the right scene. And then the last thing this movie brings is the fresh directing from Barrymore. She doesn’t do any fancy gimmicks; with the camera, she tells the story with passion, luring the audience with this world and it’s characters.
But before I get all techno with this movie, let me just say that this is a fun movie that pleases you after you see it, and not a lot of movies can satisfy you the way Whip It did for me.
Whip It is about Bliss Cavendar (Page), a 17 year old stuck in a small town in Texas called Bodine. Her mother, Brooke (played by Marcia Gay Harden, who plays a different mother than the one she played in Into The Wild) was an ex-pageant star and wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Her dad (Daniel Stern) doesn’t interfere in the situation along with her sister. Bliss has a best friend and leads a boring life when out of nowhere come these roller derby fans and she is introduced to the world of slips, tackles and women teams with awesome names. Some of them are really nice like Babe Ruthless (Page’s alter-ego) or Iron Maven or Smashley Simpson (Barrymore in a stoned out role). Bliss becomes a star over time and gets into a relationship and everything. But then her life falls apart with many issues pouring in. And then, I won’t go into details but yeah everything gets resolved.
So yeah, Whip It is a treat to watch for performances, editing and Barrymore’s inspired direction. Hurl Scouts…Kick ass!