Whip It (2009) Poster

(2009)

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8/10
Fantastic directoral debut
Mortalias4 October 2009
Drew Barrymore is well known for her quirky acting and distinct personality. But now movie goers across the country will begin seeing her in a new light- director.

"Whip It," which stars Ellen Page (Juno), Marcia Harden, and several other notable actors/actresses is a fun filled, action packed, emotional film that forces you to give an old fashioned thumbs up as you leave.

Page is fantastic in her role, perfectly capturing the rebellious, curious character of Bliss Cavendar. Her innocent face leaves you rooting for her while at the same time wondering if her decisions are ultimately right. Harden again plays her role flawlessly, down to her own hidden dreams disguised under her thick shell.

Unlike most "rise to the top" movies, Whip It is believable. It seems real at all times. It feels as though all of us at one point in our lives were like Bliss, longing to live a different life.

If you want a great night at the movies, if you want a solid movie with enjoyable memories, and if you want to answer that question of "I wonder how Drew Barrymore would be as a director," go see Whip It. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
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8/10
Drew Barrymore + Ellen Page = a winning team
larry-41124 September 2009
I attended the World Premiere of "Whip It" at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. This is quite an impressive directorial debut for Drew Barrymore (who also stars).

Barrymore works with a Shauna Cross script (based on her own novel Derby Girl) and an all-star cast featuring Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Daniel Stern, Kristen Wiig, Landon Pigg, Jimmy Fallon, Eve, and Juliette Lewis.

Page is Bliss Cavendar, whose mother (Harden) sees her daughter in gowns and crowns as she continues the family tradition of winning beauty pageant trophies. But Bliss' chance encounter with a group of roller skating girls plants other ideas in her head. Austin, Texas happens to host a roller derby league, it's not too far away, and Bliss finally sees a way out of her town (and gown). This sets up a family confrontation that is the stuff of classic coming-of-age stories.

The film starts out slow then whips into action, its brilliant ensemble cast hitting its stride and functioning like a winning roller derby team (without the bruises). Then just when you think "Whip It" is headed into sports rom-com cliché territory, surprising twists keep it original and refreshing. But despite the multitude of talented actors, Page clearly carries the film on her diminutive shoulders and is easily in control of the material.

Production values are naturally first rate, with a vivid color palette and in-your-face costumes that are occasionally (and appropriately) over the top. Cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman and editor Dylan Tichenor work perfectly in sync by reflecting both the snail's pace of Bliss' home life vs. the secret one that flies on wheels around the Austin track. Camera-work places the viewer directly into the action. Despite having been filmed primarily in Michigan (due to favorable tax credits) the Austin scenes are prominent, placing its landmarks in a warm, affectionate light. One benefit of a big budget is the ability to purchase music rights, and the result is a killer soundtrack that will have the audience singing along. Be sure to stay for the second of the two closing credits songs, the best ever cover of one of the greatest rock 'n roll love songs of all time, The Association's "Never My Love." Fox Searchlight scores again with Ellen Page, just like they did in 2007 with "Juno." Unlike that (at the time) dark horse, this is no little indie. This is classic Hollywood comedy. "Whip It" is another crowd pleaser to add to this year's must-see list.
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9/10
Congratulations Drew, you've done yourself proud!
tomthumb113 September 2009
If you like to be entertained and you enjoy seeing some of the best actresses working today, you should see this film. Ellen Page is a delight. I thought she did more with this role than she did with Juno. Kristen Wiig was her usual funny self, The rest of the cast, including Zoe Bell (excellent in Tarantino's Deathproof), Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harding, Daniel Stern, Drew, Jimmy Fallon, all performed well. That says something about Drew's directing. She elicited excellent performances out of her cast, the film was well shot, the sound and editing were nicely done and I look forward to seeing what Drew can do on her next effort.

The premiere of Whip It, which took place on September 13th, 2009 at TIFF was enthusiastically well received by the audience.

And by the way Drew, you looked smashing at the premiere! Congratulations!
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9/10
My 299th Review: Redefines The Term Chick Flick - And I Mean That.
intelearts4 January 2010
In a sense this is a 6 or 7: a kind of kookie inspirational sports movie - fun, energetic, easy to watch and easy to like.

However it gets a 9 because I cannot recall any film that truly takes the conventions that male cinema does so well and wholesale translate them to something that girls will love.

This film isn't sappy but it isn't about masculine heroism - it is about women having a great time being truly what they are - not 1950 prissies, but punky, spikey, ironic, sexy and just plain fun.

Whip It has great roller derby sequences but more than that and more than most male sports movies we get to see the personalities of those involved and they shine.

Drew Barrymore knows films - she's being doing it all her life - and this may look lightweight and simple, but the way the camera tells the story is excellent - it is all well-composed and supported by a tip-top script and a great cast. The romantic interest is too good-looking (of course) and above all this is a film that will hit the target with girls and women - but I promise you guys will really like it too.

Almost impossible not to enjoy we loved its free spirit and would recommend it heartily to teenage girls as a film about doing your thing and being strong.
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10/10
Drew Barrymore did this one very well...
ScreamingBlackEyedPea11 September 2009
I attended a screening of this on Wednesday night (the 9th) with a Q&A with Drew after the movie. This movie was superb. It was done very well. I really liked the score and the music selection (from Peaches to MGMT) was amazing. The story is really good and so realistic...it wasn't cheap. Drew said she wanted to direct this movie because it was close to her heart, and you can tell it is because of the final product. You can tell she put a lot of effort into this one. Ellen Page and Marcia Gay Harden were GREAT in this! I loved every scene they were in together...(btw, Drew was REALLY nice and answered my question). Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Drew, Landon Pigg, and the young lady who plays Bliss's best friend Pash (I forget this actress's name) were wonderful. There is everything in this movie...romance, drama, mild humorous violence, and comedy. The film also explained the sport of roller derbying very well. Good research Drew! My final rating: 9.5/10 GO SEE IT!
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8/10
Surprisingly Good
etniesfootwear072 October 2009
Enticed by free t-shirts and comfortable seats, two of my friends and I made the journey to Alexandria last Saturday to catch the sneak Preview of Whip It. Upon our arrival, our expectations were not high, as none of us were fans of Drew Barrymore.

Once the movie began, however, our opinions quickly changed. Drew Barrymore may not be the best actor, but she definitely has chops at directing. Whip It is the tale of a girl who hates life in a small town so she decides to rebel by joining a roller derby team with often comedic results. The movie is much better than plot may sound. It has some cliché moments but definitely beats the standard chick flick.

The film had a very unique feel, shifting between humorous and hipster-esquire scenes. This also was probably my biggest problem with the movie. The comedy often reminded me of something out of an Owen Wilson film but then the dramatic scenes reminded me of something more hip than Juno. That being said, the movie was much funnier than the average chick flick.

Ellen Page is superb as usual, taking on a somewhat different role than what I've seen before. It's impossible to compare her to her role in Juno, as in Whip It she plays a much more introverted, but still conflicted girl.

Andrew Wilson was probably the funniest character in the movie. I'm actually wondering where this guy came from. The other two Wilson brothers are huge and this guy just comes out of nowhere. Hopefully we'll see more of him, as he is just as funny as Owen and Luke.

Drew Barrymore had a very small role in the movie. The few scenes she is in are certainly not ruined by her. Landon Pigg should probably stick to music, or maybe even quit that because he sucks at that. He is not an actor, and that was prevalent throughout the movie. Jimmy Fallon provided a solid array of one-liners as the quirky announcer for the games.

The rest of the cast was solid, including Marcia Gay Harden as the strict but loving mother. Juliette Lewis is good as the over-the-top, intense player who takes things way too seriously. Alia Shawkat I couldn't stand but I just can't stand her in general.

This movie definitely goes far beyond what any average chick flick would. In fact it's hard to classify it as such, as I found it good and I'm a dude. All things considered it's definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of hip movies or just comedy in general.
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8/10
Drew Barrymore's directorial debut is a little gem
Troy_Campbell10 October 2009
Drew Barrymore's directorial debut is a little gem. It could have been called Juno on Skates, such are the comparisons, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, Bliss Cavendar is almost identical to Juno MacGuff (and not just because Ellen Page plays them both), it follows a similar 'finding oneself' story arc, there are eccentric yet lovable parents and it prides itself on the unique dialogue flowing throughout; however Whip It has something up its sleeve to give it its own recognisable edge – roller-derby. Fun doesn't come any thicker, faster or sillier than roller-derbying. Barrymore understands this and appropriately places the underground sport front and centre. The editing is occasionally too quick meaning you can't always see what is going on, but you are caught up in the atmosphere so much it doesn't really matter.

Beneath the action is a coming-of-age tale that wears its heart on its sleeve and bears all. Despite being slightly predictable and clichéd, real life roller-derby competitor Shauna Cross' screenplay (adapted from her own book) makes up for it with razor-sharp dialogue ("I can grow the balls") and genuinely intriguing characters. Not to mention the comedy littered throughout; never laugh-out-loud moments but you'll be chuckling from start to finish. The romance subplot could have been left out though, it doesn't hold your interest like the other story elements and feels slightly unnecessary.

Undeniably cute once again, Ellen Page stamps her A-list spot with another splendid, oddly appealing performance. Page's serious acting chops are matched by her superb comic timing as she proves that she is one of the finest young actors coming through today. The huge supporting cast is letdown by no-one; Kristen Wiig the pick of the bunch, her deadpan humour is hilarious and she is surely another actress we will see more of in the future. A special mention to Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern as well, they play Bliss' old folks with warmth and likability, never allowing them to become the typical misunderstanding parents you often find in these movies.

A laugh-a-minute affair with a bigger than average heart. Throw in a terrific little indie soundtrack and you have yourself a must-see movie.

4 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Ordinary, 3 - Good, 4 - Excellent, 5 - Classic)
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10/10
Awesome! Drew banged it out with this one...
imdb-541-28579628 September 2009
Caught a preview of this and was really glad I did. The writing and characters were very genuine. There were lots of laughs and emotion and great moments you can't help but root for the girls. Drew, Ellen, Alia, Kristin, Marcia, Juliet, Eve and the rest just tore it up on the screen. It was nice to see some of these girls, like Drew & Kristin, in roles as real people as opposed to just caricature's. I never knew how roller derby was even played but now I'm gonna look for a local league to go watch - those girls rock! I ended the film feeling like I was best buds with all of them. This definitely shows that Drew will have quite a career directing and that Juno wasn't a one-hit-wonder for Ellen, either. You won't want to miss this one.
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8/10
Underrated Movie Gold
LittleLotti23 February 2018
Drew Barrymore created a stunning film with Shauna Cross's script, and you would never know it was her first time directing. The characters and story are so well crafted and there's never a dull moment. I love the way this movie feels nostalgic and makes you remember that time in your life where you're trying to figure out who you are, and you have that one best friend that gets you through the tough times. I'm impressed by the actresses' skating abilities and making this all look so natural to them. Marcia Gay Harden is total perfection as Bliss Cavendar's mother, bringing such a realness to her character, and Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat have realistic chemistry that pulls you into their friendship. This isn't a raunchy movie and I find it totally enjoyable. I can watch this movie over and over and I never get sick of it - it's become a classic for sure!
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8/10
Great flick - Go see Whip It when it comes out!
powellk1515 September 2009
While it's a coming of age story we've seen before the film being set against roller derby makes it's something new and different. I saw this movie yesterday at TIFF and the screenwriter was there for the Q&A. This story is taken from her experiences discovering roller derby and many of the characters are based on real people. The writer is also from Texas and grew up near Austin where the story is set. Ellen Page and Marcia Gay Harden are excellent and the mother/daughter scenes are very real. Ellen Page did all her own stunts - learning to skate which adds a lot to the movie. Many of the older actresses did many of their stunts as well so the wipe outs and the scrapes and bruises are real!! Kristen Wigg is also great - one of the first times I've seen her be a real person on screen instead of just a funny character.
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9/10
Bend It Like Beckham on Roller Skates
imdb-6028 September 2009
Whip It and Bend It Like Beckham are so similar, but so much different. Both tell the stories of teenage girls who sneak away to participate in sports, Soccer and Roller Derby.

Both girls have crushes and relationships with the opposite sex, both end differently.

The main difference in Whip It, which makes the film really stand out, is the relationship with Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) and her mother (Marcia Gay Harden). This is the main theme of the movie and is beautifully developed. Drew Barrymore said she was drawn to the script because of mother-daughter theme. Drew and her mom have had problems and wanted to do the story because of it.

Bliss grows up in a small town (Bodine) in Texas, which is on the outskirts of Austin. Watch for the part when Bliss and her friend Pash dance to the Dolly Parton song Jolene, and change the words to Bodine. One day while shopping in Austin she picks up a flyer for the local Roller Derby team, the Hurl Scouts. Bliss talks her best friend. played by Alia Shswkat, into driving her into Austin to watch an actual game. She is invited after the game by Maggie Mayhem to attend a tryout to make the team.

Drew said she was attracted to the sport of Roller Derby by the crowd. When she attended an event, she looked around and saw yuppies, blue collar workers, teenagers, families, and just a wide range of people. All drawn to the sport of Roller Derby.

The book was written by Shauna Cross who based her experience on her career with the LA Derby Dolls. Shauna skated with them as Maggie Mayhem (played by Kristen Wiig). Shauna was looking for a tennis partner and searched Craigslist for one, and found an ad for Roller Derby, which started her career.

Drew made some additions to the script. A fan of the hockey movie "Slap Shop" and the characters the Hanson Brothers, she came up with the Manson Sisters for Whip It. They play silent but deadly teammates on the Hurl Scouts. A little hard of hearing or not caring to, they walk by the white board with a play diagrammed, look, and just keep walking. They are played by LA Derby Dolls skaters Kristen "Krissy Krash" Adolfi and Rachel "Iron Maiven". Adolfi and Piplica are teammates on LADD's Tough Cookies, on whom the film's fictionalized Hurl Scouts are based.

Landon Pigg goes from musician to his first acting role, as Bliss' love interest. I think this is the only scene of making out under water I have ever seen.

If some of the blood and bruises look real .. they are !! Most of the actors did their own skating and had their share of mishaps. Bliss (Ellen Page) was trained by LA Derby Doll's Axle of Evil. Drew suffered a huge bruise on her thigh while wrestling with one of the trainers. During the training, some of the actors would yell out "I am hurting" and the trainers would yell back "Keep Skating".

The movie scenes of Roller Derby action look extremely real as Drew used hand held cameras for a lot of the action. A huge crane in the middle of the track took shots from high above and also went down close to the action.

The moral of the movie (per Drew) is finding yourself, to get out there and do things, to improve yourself, and to pick yourself up and keep trying.

I highly recommend this movie to one and all.
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5/10
Whip It....Skip It!
jagabc689312 October 2009
This movie was not as good as I thought it would be. Ellen Page is sweet and she is obviously very talented. However, she is starting to come off as a whiner to me. She was not quite as sarcastic, and she did not try to be as "cool" as she was in Juno, but she is still a little annoying for some reason. Drew Barrymore's performance was really disappointing to me. I felt she did very little and her role was almost a "cameo". She just pops up from time to time, says very little, and tries to act tough. Also, let me ask you this? Does Ellen Page look 21? No, she looks like she is 14. How in the world are her teammates surprised when they find out she is only 17? Also, being a person who has roller skated for over 30 years, I guess I found it hard to believe that Bliss would be the fastest person out there when they were doing time trials. She looked slow and awkward. They guy that Bliss falls for looks like a loser. My wife was like, "why is she even bothering with that ugly guy?" I didn't get it.

I hate to bash this movie, because I was really looking forward to seeing it. However, I am finding it hard to say something good about it. Juliette Lewis actually gave one of the best performances in the movie. She is one of the few who actually pulled off the "edgy, tough roller-girl" persona. This movie was nothing special, and the box office returns will show it.
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9/10
Touching, thrilling & delighting!
mistoppi19 April 2016
I got curious about this movie because I've been interested in roller derby (while the last time I roller skated was around time when I was 7-10, oops), because the movie has so many women on it, and lastly because Zoë Bell is in the film. It's always a pleasure to see her work on screen, whether it's acting or stunts.

While I've never been into sports, or sport films, I loved Whip It! The matches between the leagues were so intense and thrilling!

I'm so delighted because of how many women were in this film, not just the characters but the director and writer as well. And there are so many different kind of female characters in the story, all having their own ideologies, all having different personalities. There are characters who are so typical good characters, but they are still interesting. There are assertive women, violent women, competitive women, mean women, nice women, mothers, daughters... So many different kind of characters. It's almost rare, because so many films have around 80 % male characters.

The structure of this film may be quite predictable, but the other qualities of Whip It make up for that - the story is emotional in many different ways, and it's just fun to watch. And after all, isn't most of Hollywood pretty predictable these days? And the story has many different levels, it's not just about the sport. It's about the main character Bliss growing up, it's about her relationships with her parents, her friends, the friends and rivals she makes while playing roller derby. And while the main point of the film is Bliss finding her passion and what makes her happy, the story doesn't forget all the other details that push her forward or pull her back.

The music was well chosen. It keeps the viewer psyched, and the songs work when you're listening to them outside of the movie. I have several of them on my playlists.

Simply put, Whip It is an amazing movie. It touches, thrills and delights. There's only one thing I'd change, and it would be deleting most of the useless heterosexual romances and add some women loving women there. It would suit the film and make it so much more better, but I'm happy with what I got.
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Sweet, fun, and good natured
runamokprods31 October 2011
Likable" could be seen as a lukewarm compliment for a film. "Cute" could even be a backhanded pit-down. But this film is likable and cute in a very good way.

The story of an off-beat 17 year old, well played by Ellen Page, finding herself by secretly joining the roller derby in Austin, Texas may be clichéd on the surface, but the lovely character detail and successfully offbeat casting make the film a quirky, likable winner.

Not a great film, nor an "important" one, but one I enjoyed and was never bored by. And at a time where most Hollywood "entertainment" centers around blowing stuff up, its nice to see a mainstream film with rich characters and a big heart.
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4/10
Let Down
erlangerr20 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I am a big fan of Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore and Alia Shawkat. Naturally I had high hopes that this would be a unique, quirky, indie and generally good movie. What a let down!

Here are the stupid things about this movie:

* endless spirals of clichés including conservative "50's housewife", reconciling food fight, indie boy-crush in band, beauty pageant queen turned roller derby star and mother turning up to championship against all odds (not) * nerdy twig of a girl asked to join a roller-derby team * G rated underage, underwater sex scene SANS condom

NOT compelling!! no no no
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5/10
Is that my Stryper T-shirt?
ferguson-611 October 2009
Greetings again from the darkness. Disappointing, yet entertaining film version of the Shauna Cross novel brought to us by first time director Drew Barrymore. I say disappointing because it really looks like they filmed the rough draft of the screenplay. It could have been so much more with a little effort and work on the script. Entertaining for all the other reasons!

First, this is Ellen Page's film ... she not only carries the Hurl Scouts into the championship game, she also carries most every scene in the film. She gets some nice support work from Alia Shawkat as her best friend Pash, as well as the lost Wilson brother, Andrew, who makes for a very interesting Roller Derby coach! Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern star as Page's mismatched parents. Harden is the one time beauty pageant queen pushing her daughter that direction, while Stern is the sports loving dad seemingly stuck with two daughters and a very controlling wife.

Nice to see stuntwoman supreme Zoe Bell get another real acting gig after stealing Tarantino's Death Proof, and Juliette Lewis really chomps down on her role as the jealous oldtimer in the league. Sadly Kristen Wiig has little to do here and Jimmy Fallon is just way over the top as the ring announcer. Singer Landon Pigg has an odd turn as Page's first love interest - mostly wasted screen time that could have been better spent.

Would have really enjoyed a bit more character development as there are certainly no shortage of potential jackpots. Stay for the end and check out the credits ... not sure I have ever seen more individual songs in one film.
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2/10
Bend it like Beckham, but without the good, funny or interesting parts.
phantom_pixie23 June 2010
When drama is rushed it can feel like the slowest thing in the world. The characters never get any time to breathe. The turmoil that they go through feels so compact, tidy, and meager that it's like your watching nothing at all. The quest for life's answers in the "missunderstood teenager" way, with the mandatory pushy mother and the quiet but understanding father seems like a subject done before. This movie is way too bland, stale, and unbelievable to really find the heart. I compare it to Bend it like Beckham, but without the good, funny or interesting parts. I liked the idea of this film, it had potential. Ellen Paige is great, as always, but the rest of the cast could have been exchanged for puppets and no on would have been able to tell the difference. I thought the ending too obvious and forced compared to the rest of it, and needed a more inspired and extended premise and execution for fullest success. It seemed rushed and inconsistent with the buildup to it. The movie is, too be frank, about a bunch of girl riding around in circles on rollerskating. And just as exiting as that sounds.
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2/10
Whip It? Skip It.
grossdp4 January 2010
I don't know why I expected a roller derby movie directed by, of all people, Drew Barrymore, to be any good. Perhaps I thought an IMDb rating meant something. In this case, it didn't.

I suffered through more than one hour of this sloppily directed, poorly written trash before deciding not to waste another 45 or so minutes of my life I would never get back. The only redeeming element of this trash can chick flick was the acting. Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat are both fine actresses, and Marcia Gay Harden was good even in her boring, cliché conservative mother role.

Aside from that, there was nothing. Nothing aside from Drew Barrymore trying her hand at being a good indie director... and failing miserably. For chrissake, there's an underwater kissing scene that lasts about 15 minutes set to pretentious indie pop music.

I thought the move was almost over after 2 hours and saw I had only been watching for 1 hour. That was my cue. I hope this can be yours. Don't waste your time!!!
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8/10
Be your own hero! Go Babe Ruthless!
Spikeopath24 March 2011
Whip It is directed by Drew Barrymore and adapted for the screen by Shauna Cross from her own novel, Derby Girl. Barrymore also co-stars alongside Ellen Page, Alia Shawkat, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Daniel Stern and Landon Pigg.

Bliss Cavendar (Page), is a bored teenage girl stuck in a rut in Bodeen, Texas. Her life consists of working at the "Oink Joint" restaurant and entering beauty contests to please her mother (Harden). Along with her friend Pash (Shawkat), she dreams of escaping to a better life. Then one day during a trip out to Austin, the girls get wind of Roller Derby, a sport for girls played on roller-skates. Intrigued they go and take in a match and Bliss is hooked straight away, it's tough, competitive and even edgy. Telling a lie about her age, Bliss decides to try out for the "Hurl Scouts" and gets a place on the team as "Babe Ruthless". Thanks to her ability the "Scouts" start to turn around their season, however, with a new boyfriend on the scene and her parents unaware of her secret life, Bliss' new found happiness could come crashing down around her.

In spite of some favourable critical assessments, Drew Barrymore's directing debut barely made a dent at the box office. Just about making its money back on World gross, the figures would lend you to believe that the film simply isn't very good. Plot synopsis doesn't suggest anything out of the ordinary, yet another coming-of-age teenager picture, and one that is sports based, and even more formulaic than that, the sports team at the centre of proceedings is an underdog too! Throw into the equation that it's a female based movie and it's not really a film crying out for all demographics: or is it? Barrymore herself was very disappointed with the marketing for her movie, the general feeling being that it was sold as a girls sports love story type picture. She's absolutely right, it was marketed badly, and it barely had a run on the big screen in most countries. Which is a shame because Whip It is a smashing film, a picture that's vibrant, funny and not without dramatic worth; and yes, it's accessible for any age, sex or gender persuasion. Cross' script is fresh and free of filler and the cast all turn in jolly good shows; ranging from the excellent (Page/Gay Harden) to the engaging (Shawkat/Lewis/Wiig) and the funny (Stern/Fallon). OK, so it's not perfect, Barrymore is no Tony Scott when it comes to shooting action (some of the actual derby matches are confusing and not flowing), and maybe a bit more back-story flesh for the other "Hurl Scouts" wouldn't have gone amiss? But these are minor itches at the beginning of what is hoped to be a long career in directing for Madame Barrymore.

With names like Jabba the Slut, Smashley Simpson and Iron Maven, it's evidently a film full of fun vim and vigour. But as great as that is (girls in skirts on skates belting each other around a track), the coming-of-age drama at its core should not be understated either. 8/10
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5/10
Gentle Do-si-do...
Howlin Wolf23 October 2012
Whip It was a movie I wanted to like more than I did... The storyline was a little bit twee and predictable, with all of the 'small-town underdog' sports clichés... but, on the other hand, first-time director Drew Barrymore's handling of things is as charming as Barrymore herself seems to be... so, if you don't mind predictability, like roller derby, and just want a non-taxing feelgood film, then this could be it...

It has a great soundtrack, too, so that's in its favour.

Barrymore seems to be fond of fairy tales, so if you like miraculous yet never less than wholesome transformations, and inspirational sloganeering such as "Be Your Own Hero!", then this will probably suit you a treat... It's not that I'm against those things, it's just that these warm fuzzies sometimes come at the expense of teaching you about the realities of life... but, if you've seen "Never Been Kissed" before and enjoyed it, then at least you'll know the type of thing to expect.
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5/10
Usual Ellen Page
sjupie15 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I really wanted to like this movie.

Things I liked: Andrew Wilson, Juliet Lewis, "Cousin Maebe," Marcia Gay Hardin, Kristin Wiig, and Drew Barrymore. Andrew Wilson, the brother of Luke and Owen, is HOT. The whole movie, I was thinking, "Who IS this guy??" He acts well, too. LOVE Juliet Lewis. She wasn't too famous to be seen all greasy and trashy. I usually can't stand Marcia Gay Harden (except for her cameo in Law and Order, Criminal Intent), but I loved her in this. She is very believable in her mail carrier's uniform. I like the choice of Landen Pigg as the first love. Nobody's first boyfriend is a confident hunk. Your first love is always a skinny, awkward, average-looking guy. I loved the funny names of the skaters.

Things I didn't like: Much like Arnold, Sylvester Stallone, or Tom Cruise, Ellen Page plays the same character in every movie. The I'm too smart for you precocious teenager ("I'm from the bustling metropolis of Bolene, Texas.") Why didn't she have a Texan accent? Ellen's character is supposed to be a super fast skater, but Ellen Page can NOT skate! She looked like she was about to fall down in every skating scene. The food fight scene and underwater scene were completely gratuitous. The underwater love scene seemed like it was done just so they could say, "Hey. This is the first completely underwater love scene in history." It was completely unromantic. So much time was wasted on stupid stuff that could have been better used. Eve plays the token black who doesn't get any lines.
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10/10
One of the best films of the year
samzetlan6 October 2009
I went into this movie with rather high expectations. Ellen Page delivers yet another stunning performance as Bliss Cadaver, and Drew Barrymore proves herself well worthy of the title of director. Marcia Gay harden also delivers as Bliss's overbearing mother. The film is thoroughly enjoyable to watch, at the same time it is raw, emotional, and real. The cinematography during the roller derby scenes is spectacular, done in such a way that you can really feel the emotion of the sport. The movie very definitely does not disappoint. i fully expect best picture/director nods for Barrymore, as well as best a best actress nod for Ellen page, and a best supporting actress nod foe Marcia gay harden. all in all this a wonderful film, and is one of the years few must see movies. it is a wonderful story beautifully executed at the hands of Drew Barrymore. I give it a 10/10.
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7/10
I like smart girls. That's why I married your mama. Well, that and I knocked her up.
lastliberal21 May 2010
The first thing I noticed that peaked my interest, aside from the title and the subject matter, was the cast and director.

I love Drew Barrymore, and she was not only in this film, but the film's director. This definite means my time will not be wasted.

Aside from Barrymore, we have Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, and Zoe Bell. There is also Marcia Gay Harden, who might give us another great bible quoting character like she did in The Mist.

It was way too predictable, but that didn't take too much away from the enjoyment. Page was great, as was Wiig and Lewis. Harden played a great role, as did Daniel Stern as her father, Earl. Alia Shawkat is one I want to see more of.

An enjoyable end to the week.
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6/10
Inspiring + Heartwarming = Kind of Boring
jean051912 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I love Drew Barrymore, Kirsten Wiig, and especially Ellen Page. Drew is adorable, Kirsten is hilarious, and Ellen is adorable, hilarious, and is a really great actor (forget Juno. Watch Hard Candy.) I was really looking forward to this movie, and was really disappointed. The action scenes were great, and they're all good skaters, but the plot was predictable and tedious. Was there ever a question that she would be allowed to go to the finals? (see Bend it Like Beckham, a far superior film which had the same outcome). And what was that underwater nonsense about? I guess it was supposed to be beautiful and balletic, but left me breathless because I wondered when they'd come up for air.

Although the movie was a C+, I did enjoy Marcia Gay Harden's three-dimensional portrayal of the over-protective southern Mom. I especially appreciated the realistic portrayal of the parents. Too many movies play the parents as clueless, stupid, and/or narrow-minded. These parents loved their daughters and showed it.
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Amateur at best
stevengpg8 February 2010
The best thing this movie has going for it is a phenomenal cast. I know I know this is the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore but it was painfully obvious when watching. This movie should be shown in film school 101 to teach students why they are in film school in the first place. Why blocking matters, why shot selection and story structure is so important and why the movement of background extras should be thought out more than"Hey just stand there and pump your fist like you are cheering".

The movie feels staged. The directing is amateur, the blocking is poor and the cinematography is unimaginative. The story is simple enough and I hoped would be a unique take on the teenage coming of age story but unfortunately it goes nowhere. This movie relies on clichés and stilted techniques to trod the story along which makes the whole thing dull.

However I will say, if Drew Barrymore studies story structure and directing technique she will become a solid director. Let me put it this way, if this movie was made for $16,000 by a UT film student I would be eagerly awaiting their sophomore film. It wasn't.
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