Whip It

Movies Reviews Ellen Page
Whip It

Release Date: Oct. 2
Director: Drew Barrymore
Writer: Shauna Cross
Starring: Ellen Page, Barrymore, Kristen
Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Alia Shawkat
Cinematographer: Robert D. Yeoman
Studio/Run Time: Fox Searchlight, 111 mins.

Roller-derby comedy throws a few elbows

Ellen Page plays meek and mild Bliss, a high-school girl dealing with all the things that make a teenager’s life such hell. She finds her way into a violent female roller-derby league that ignites her. The women there are older, and use names like “Bloody Holly” and “Smashley Simpson,” brought to life by Barrymore with a fun cast of roller-skating comic actors. She’s clearly aiming to crack open a market for comedies aimed primarily at girls but that don’t alienate guys (the opposite of the usual Hollywood formula), and if she can do it with romantic fake-outs, themes of personal empowerment and stories featuring honest character development, then more power to her.

Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut starts with a chain of clichés a mile long and keeps adding more links.But in its final third, Whip It turns from a rusty tangle into a sweet and rewarding tale that’s far more mature than the setup seems to allow.

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