Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Whip It"

I saw a sneak preview of the Drew Barrymore-directed film Whip It last night, and it was fun and funny. Juno's Ellen Page stars as 17-year-old Bliss Cavendar, a reluctant beauty pageant participant in Bodeen, Texas. She does the pageants to appease mom (Marcia Gay Harden), a former beauty queen turned postal worker.

She and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) work as waitresses in a local diner. Nothing exciting is happening in their lives until Bliss discovers a roller derby flyer while shopping with her mom in Austin. She sneaks out to see the derby and is offered the chance to try out by Hurl Scouts member Maggie Mayhem (SNL's Kristen Wiig). Meanwhile, Bliss falls for a hipster boy in a band, Oliver (a Gallagher-brother-looking Landon Pigg) after spotting him there.

Bliss dusts off her old Barbie skates, and it turns out that she's actually a fast skater. She tries out for the coach, Razor (Andrew Wilson - brother of Owen and Luke), and ends up making the Hurl Scouts team. She joins Maggie, Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore), Rosa Sparks (Eve) and more.

Babe Ruthless becomes Bliss's new name. With her help, they actually start to win. Bliss even becomes the poster child for the league. Her arch-nemesis Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis) threatens to out her for her age though - turns out you're supposed to be 21 to skate.

Bliss's relationship with her mom and dad (Daniel Stern a.k.a. Marv from Home Alone) is strained after they discover that an S.A.T. class was code for roller derby. To make the perfect storm, she discovers on the Internet that Oliver cheated on her when he goes away on tour.

Since Bliss ends up being too young to skate in the championships unless she gets permission from a parent, she enters yet another pageant. Her father stages an intervention with the Hurl Scouts, and they rescue her and take her to the championship. Barrymore did a impressive job for her directorial debut.

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