Whip It has a childlike innocence and fun to it, mixed with some dark and snarky undertones. Just like its director Drew Barrymore.
In her directorial debut, Barrymore’s film is about finding your voice, and then using it to elbow somebody on the roller derby track. Bliss (Ellen Page) is a 17 year old who hasn’t quite discovered who she is. She is forced to enter beauty pageants by her mom, to live out her mother’s dreams and she works at a dead end diner. One day she sees a flyer for a roller derby match and eventually ends up on a team. Through competition and friendship Bliss discovers her potential.
What I really like about the story was that it seemed like a fresh take on the life of an average teenager. So many times, teen stories involve characters that are overly sarcastic. This shows friends supporting each other and making an effort to better themselves.
Maybe that’s just how Texas is. Maybe that’s just Drew Barrymore’s feelings translated on film.
Another nice touch was not seeing too much of any one character. Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Juliette Lewis and Kristin Wiig all costar, but we get just the right amount of each of them.
Tween girls are the ones who will really love this one. I’m willing to give Barrymore the benefit of the doubt, because it was her first go round behind the camera and I did get a handful of laughs and smiles from it.