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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Whip It (2009)


Roller Derby looks like it frickin’ kills. Especially if your a chick, cause then your nails are always breaking.

Escaping her smothering mother’s (Marcia Gay Harden) beauty pageant plans for her, small-town Texas teen Bliss (Ellen Page) joins an all-girl roller derby team in Austin and begins living a thrilling double life as Babe Ruthless — a life that might catch up with her.

So this is Drew Barrymore‘s directorial debut, and you can tell. The film is much like her, not too creative, but very cute, I could just see her behind the scenes going in her little voice: “Yeah we’re going to skate”. She’s alright with her first film, but she doesn’t know how to set a tone, or pace all that well.

There would be moments in this film, that would move pretty fast, but then it would just get dreadfully slow, and your starting to actually hope they would just go to the roller derby scenes. But the sad thing is, they aren’t even that fun to watch. They are so poorly choreographed, and the camera work is pretty cool, you can’t help but think that you should be feeling so much more excitement when your watching chicks, on skates, beating the hell out of each other.

The screenplay, I thought could have been a little bit better. I will not lie, some parts did have me laugh, but other than that, I found this story nothing new. I’ve seen it all before, and the problem is that the film doesn’t do much else to take my mind away from that. It’s heart is in the right place, and the scenes with Bliss and her mother, work very well, because of how true they are, but it almost seems wasted in a film about chicks on skates.

Ellen Page may get on most people’s nerves, but she’s actually very good in here, and less annoying than you would expect her. Marcia Gay Harden does an even better job playing her mother that just can’t accept her passion, and the scenes these tow have are great together, as noted above. I also liked seeing Daniel Stern, back in action. Juliette Lewis plays that mean, snobby, bitch we all know and love/hate her for, and she doesn’t shy away from that act at all here, and well it’s still good. The guy who plays the coach, Andrew Wilson, just reminded me of bearded Owen Wilson, when in reality, that’s Wilson’s brother. He does a good job here, and I think he should try to pursue more small, comedic roles, but he needs to get a new shtick, so he doesn’t get annoyed about his brother. There are also nice other supporting roles from Eve, Kristen Wiig, Alia Shawkat, and Jimmy Fallon, doing what he does best, acting like a total nut ball.

Consensus: It’s an overly familiar story, that is showered down by a pace, and tone that may annoy some, but it’s heart is in the right place, and the performances bring a lot to the table.

5.5/10=Rental!!

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6 responses to “Whip It (2009)

  1. joem18b November 20, 2010 at 2:46 am

    we got half-way through quite a while ago, then got interrupted and didn’t go back. does the pace pick up in the second half?

    first halves are generally better than second halves. true or false? if true, it would be an argument for not going back.

  2. Marc November 30, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    It was a bit more heartfelt and a definite “it’s ok to be yourself” movie but I liked it. Still thought she got good at the sport waaay to fast and you’re right, the scenes weren’t choreographed the best therefore not showcasing how rough and tumble the sport really is.

    Still, it’s good to see Daniel Stern in a good to decent movie again (he was pretty funny in “Otis” btw).

  3. Rental Rehab December 29, 2010 at 2:54 am

    The derby scenes were at least fun to watch (one of the Rental Rehab bloggers is a former derby girl and had a role in this film as an extra. You can spot her jumping up and down in the background of one of the scenes – yay!) and were skated by actual real roller derby girls instead of just stunt doubles. But definitely rough around the edges. I mean, seriously, that food fight? Is this “Police Academy”?

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