Review: Whip It

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Gerty made a movie.  That’s right.  Drew Barrymore complimented her early E.T. success with a drug/alcohol-fueled childhood to come out the other side as a very successful producer and now with this movie, a director.

Yes, Whip It is a chick flick.  If the chick in that flick was named Smashley Simpson or Jaba the Slut (LOVE the names), throws elbows, flips the bird, has tattoos and generally doesn’t give a crap if you like her or not.  Get your Barbie skates on and check this kickass movie out.

*Cue the movie trailer voice* In a land of small town bullies and big city dreams, where the only break in the monotony is a shift at the “Oink Joint” or participation in the local beauty pageant, Bliss Cavendar finds her calling in the brutal world of Texas Roller Derby.  *End movie trailer voice* cough cough.  Hard voice to keep up.

Ellen Page plays Bliss, a girl that doesn’t feel like she fits in (um, who doesn’t?) but finds it easier to go with mom’s (Marcia Gay Hayden) wants and “ideals” rather than hurting her feelings.  Well the path of least resistance hits a roller derby track and Bliss finds something she loves, much to the confusion of her parents and best friend.  From there on out, it’s about trying to grow up, embracing what you love (even if it’s briefly) while balancing a new family with old relationships.

Coming of age story?  Check.  Sports movie?  Sure.  Chick flick? Already said it was.  Drew Barrymore has created a hybrid of styles that works.  A little big of column A mixed with column B equals a really great, emotional story about the lives we want and the lives we have.  The fishnets and flying elbows are awesome too.

Everyone is fantastic in this.  Marcia Gay Harden as the mom could have come off as the bad guy but you understand where she’s coming from.  Daniel Stern (where the hell has he been?) is just fine has the cool dad stuck between two very strong women.  Speaking of strong women, the perpetual losers, the “Hurl Scouts” – Zoe Bell, Eve, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, really help you understand the appeal of this new life Bliss wants.   Throw in Juliette Lewis as the “villain” Iron Maven and Bliss’ best friend Pash (Maybe from Arrested Development) and there’s not a missed note here from the cast.  And yes, that is Owen and Luke Wilson‘s brother Andrew as Razor.

I will say it’s all a little predictable but who cares.  Really, there aren’t many movies out there that aren’t.  However there are few movies that have the heart, fun and tattoos of this one.

WHIP IT Rating:
3 stars – good movie, take a friend. Go for the story and the acting, stay for the fishnets and clotheslines.  Nicely done Ms. Barrymore.  Looking forward to your next one.

Randomly Recommended
Hard Candy – So Ellen Page is a star now.  Thanks Juno. WRONG!  This is the movie that put her on everyone’s radar.  It’s dark, it’s twisted, it’ll mess you up a little.  The story of an online pedophile…or is it?  If you haven’t, you should.  (see the movie, not be an online pedophile).

Right Back At You
This is a new segment where I quickly review a movie recommended to me

Great Expectations – Katie from work dropped this on my desk for a watch.  Kudos.  Good movie.  Loosely based on the Mark Twain book of the same name, it’s a movie of angst and blue balls.  (I really wanted a better term but come on, there isn’t).  The obsession/self-loathing is played by Ethan Hawke, an actor I never see movies because he’s in them but he’s always good.  The blue balls, well that’s Gwyneth Paltrow.  Gorgeous and haunting.  Robert De Niro is kind of necessary for the story but still feels forced in.  Definitely worth checking out, especially now as a renter.  2 tickets to you.

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  1. Hmm. Again you surprise me. I thought for sure that this movie was destined to be join the money making greasy fromage of Charlie’s Angels in my hallowed halls of crap flick.

    If you buy it and lend it to me, I MAY watch. But I don’t think I can trust you enough on this one otherwise.

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