Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whip It

Ellen Page is Juno a little older and less pregnant in the same small town in Whip It, a story about a 19-year-old waitress who decides to break out of boring small town by joining a roller derby team.

I was prepared to watch a shlocky, ill put-together film, but I actually thought almost everything in Whip It worked. The comedy of innocent girl thrust into the tattooed throes of comic-but-serious roller derby women is priceless. And you gotta love their names: Maggie Mayhem. Smashly Simpson. And the drama works well, too. Drew Barrymore's first directorial effort really scores.

The only part of the film I wasn't pleased with were many of the exchanges Page's character Bliss Cavendar had with her family. But just sit back and enjoy the superb cast -- Marcia Gay Harden as her mother, a mother who's seen better days as a beauty queen, and underrated Daniel Stern as her put-upon father.

The roller derby queens are well-cast, too. Ever wonder what happened to actress Juliette Lewis? She's here as the slightly crazy roller derby player who doesn't like young upstarts. Kristen Wiig breaks away from Saturday Night Live as the roller derby maven who befriends our girl.

It's a sports movie, it's a coming-of-age movie, it's bored-in-a-small-town movie. See it.

Thumb's up.


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