“Whip It” – a coming of age story on skates

Ellen Page in Whip It

 

Rated PG13

Directed by Drew Barrymore

Starring Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristin Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 3.5

Word of Warning: None really, just have a good time and try not to bruise your elbows or get a black eye.

Full of really funny women, some of my favorites, this is a fun, but ultimately forgettable movie. Ellen Page plays Bliss, a 17-year-old from Bodeen, a small, one-horse town outside of Austin, Texas. She and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat), have one goal: to get the heck out of Bodeen. The two girls work as waitresses at the Oink Joint, a BBQ restaurant complete with a giant pink pig on the rooftop.    

Bliss’ mother (Maria Gay Harden) is obsessed with the town’s Miss Blue Bonnet pageant. She was once held the title of Miss Blue Bonnet, and she wants nothing else but to see Bliss also become Miss Blue Bonnet. Bliss, however, has other plans.

While clothes shopping in Austin, Bliss sees a poster for roller derby and she is immediately intrigued. When she and Pash sneak out to a roller derby event Bliss finds out team Hurl Scouts is having open tryouts. She buys a pair of skates and secretly begins practicing, determined to try out for the team.

I particularly enjoyed the relationship  between Bliss and her parents. It was probably the most realistic relationships depiction in the entire movie. The love story between Bliss and Oliver, the struggling rock star, was as unbelievable as it was unnecessary, but I didn’t mind it either.

This movie is jam-packed with colorful characters, including Drew Barrymore as roller derby girl Smashley Simpson, Kristin Wiig as Maggie Mayhem, Juliette Lewis as Iron Maven and many more. These gals make this movie what it is, although Ellen Page does demonstrate she can hold her own on screen with lots of famous and well-loved actresses.

This movie represents Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, and I must admit, she did a fine job. Although I did hear someone at the theater describe “Whip It” as a “Lifetime Original Movie,” and I agree. It’s pretty tame, despite the rough and tumble sport of roller derby, this is no gritty coming of age story.

With just enough of a retro vibe to keep the thirty and forty-something audience entertained, and just the right of amount of teen angst to keep the younger one’s happy, “Whip It” is a solid movie with broad appeal.

Also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.

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