Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with this feisty, female-friendly action-comedy. Ellen Page (previously seen in Juno) stars as Bliss Cavendar, a teenage girl who desperately longs to break free of the small-town she lives in and finds the perfect escape vehicle. In fact her escape vehicle has eight wheels and gets strapped to her feet.
After years of being pushed by her mother into beauty pageants, Bliss discovers the true joy of donning roller skates and skating as fast as humanly possible while trying desperately to avoid the hits of rather feisty squeals on wheels. That’s right it’s the return of the Roller derby and I have to say that it is as cool as ever. With awesome characters who just happen to have the coolest of Roller Derby names such as Smashley Simpson, Bloody Holly, Malice in Wonderland, Maggie Mayhem and Iron Maven. I won’t tell you what Bliss chooses as her Derby name as the process is one of the rather enjoyable parts of the movie.
For her first Directing experience, “Whip It” is an excellent choice for Barrymore, as it is very character and plot driven and therefore giving her the chance to really draw from her cast in order to build strong performances that back up the very decent script.
Although “Whip It” is pitched as a bit of a Girlie flick, the rough and tumble of the Roller Derby turns up the action and makes this film excellent for both the men and the ladies. One of the key surprises in this film is Andrew Wilson, who I am told is the older brother of Owen and Luke Wilson. Wilson’s role of Razor is both extremely funny and very endearing, as he stumbles his way trying to coach these hardened and head-strong women whilst still maintaining any form of dignity.
So overall a really nice and yet moody coming of age type film that has a little romance, a solid helping of action and even has our very own world Famous Kiwi Stunt Woman Zoe Bell in one of the key supporting roles.
Reviewed By: Jon E Clist
Releases: 7th January 2010
Rating: M Offensive Language & Sexual References
Running time: 111 minutes
Starring: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis & Andrew Wilson.
Director: Drew Barrymore