Whip It (2009)

Whip It (2009)
A Review by Ben Hunter
3 Out of 5 Stars

Not bad Drew Barrymore ... not spectacular either. But I'm so happy for her in her directorial debut, I think she's off to a good start.

Drew's target audience is mother's and daughters, I heard her say that in an interview for the film's publicity. So as a viewer, walking into the film I knew this film wasn't intended for me. As the film progressed and I started to make of the message Drew was trying to send, I could see this film wasn't intended for me.

I still however could partake of the story and really get into it, which is why I commend the director and her crew of filmmakers for engaging someone into this world that wasn't even intended for them but for a completely different group of people. Nice work Drew!

However, I couldn't buy how Ellen Page's character was so easily accepted into this new world that she's never even heard of. Let alone be a good skater right off the bat within. It was TOTALLY believable how she was introduced to this new world and life. It was acceptable that there was a tryouts session the week after she was 1st introduced to this new way of life, which is probably why the skaters were out passing flyers. That was all believeable.

However, at tryouts there were like 50 girls, or the impression was given that there were a lot of girls and they only took 1, so it's kind of cliche that our hero/protagonist was that one chosen out of many. The team wasn't a well liked team, people weren't dying to be just like these girl skaters at the roller derby, I mean they always losed their games.

Ellen Page hadn't even skated since childhood and even then she didn't do that often. We all as kids came across a pair of skates as children. So because she was really fast and tiny so she can weave through skaters easily, wasn't really believeable. Even when she was past this point, the team was so quick to accept her. I guess once you make it past the initial wall, you're in. They invited her to tryouts, and that makes sense. But I was expecting the team to be rough on her, pick on her, provoke her a little to toughen her up and get her to be better.

If this was the case, I then would've gotten over the flemsy reason of she was really fast, faster than the other 49 girls at tryouts even though she's never skated since her childhood days which were nothing more than your average kid skating because it's a new thing you've discovered.

Overall though, I liked the relationships that the film depicted. The obivious family relationships, the boyfriend, the best friend (who was quite cute to look at!), with everyone that you follow along with as Ruthless (Page) comes into contact with, Jimmy Fallon was HILIARIOUS, especially at the hot tub party scene! Ellen Page plays the part well of being the poor helpless little girl that you really want to see succeed. This was definitely her next big break since her debut in the eyes of the average movie goer with Juno. She's done other things since, but nothing really breakthrough until now. Probably because of all the hype around this being Drew Barrymore's 1st time directing.

All and all a good heartfelt, positive message that anyone can get with, despite it's target audience. I don't think it'll get a ton of award nods like Juno, but you can't compare the 2 simply because they share the same lead. Juno was headed by a more experienced director and this was a first tymer. However, I think Drew Barrymore did a nice job adapting this film which is the story of her life and making it digestible for everyone. Which is why I liked the film overall. Definitely a go see for yourself and take in to derive your own thoughts from. Which will be a feel good, positive overall opnion in my sure guess.

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