Movie Review – Whip It (Drew Barrymore, 2009)

Straight up, Whip It has got to be one of my favorite movies I’ve seen in the theater in quite some time. This is basically the ultimate chick flick, by which I mean it gives us an example of how great a “chick flick” can be. That said, there is definitely a lot to appeal to guys in the movie as well, but I don’t just mean the hot babes.

hurlscouts

haha.. cause I know you like girl scouts with helmets on

As someone who is fairly attuned to this, I have to say I was really impressed by the way all the girls were presented. If this had been a typical Hollywood movie directed by any typical Hollywood director (assuming male), you KNOW there would have been a lot of gratuitous and cliché “hot” slow-motion shots, probably a few sex scenes,  a lot more romantic drama, and probably at least one “dumb” girl. But none of this is in there.

whipittrio

But these babes ARE hot, and not in the stereotypical way movie chicks usually are. These girls are also strong, independent, physical, rebellious, colorful, subversive. They have a lot more going on in their lives than relationships with men. They do not once discuss shopping, or fashion (beyond their skating outfits, which are pretty badass) [although Drew had to get in one CoverGirl plug, haha].

I mean, seriously. Tell me the last movie you saw that fits that description.

I’m not sure one comes easily to mind. (the shows Buffy TVS and Veronica Mars do though).

I think it has everything to do with the fact that this film was written and directed by women, and in this case, awesome ones. Drew Barrymore, I could kiss you for making this movie! Let’s hang out sometime.

drewbarry

Further, the film’s scrappy little heroine, Ellen Page, is completely irresistable, and really gives the audience someone to root for. Bliss Cavender is someone we all want to know from the moment she shows up  for the beauty pageant with blue hair (her mother is making her enter).

The rest of the cast turn in fantastic performances across the board, and clearly have a lot of fun while doing it. Everyone did their own skating! Wow! Nice job, girls. I was delighted to see Zoe Bell, the Australian stuntwoman, and Juliette Lewis was delightfully nasty as Bliss’ rival “Iron Maven”.

mavenbabe

Ahh, my love for puns, it was working overtime during this movie, because it’s one awesome name after another. Drew Barrymore was “Smashlee Simpson” 😀 I think it’s pretty obvious she was enjoying making this movie a lot, because while she has a fairly small part overall, every time she’s onscreen she’s doing something outrageous and hilarious.

As others have noted, it’s not without its cliches (it is a coming of age sports movie, after all), but I think it worked extremely well within the framework of the genre and still manages to seem new. I was pleased by the happy-but-not-too-happy ending, particularly the laudably realistic resolution with the love interest, Oliver (gawky band dude, portrayed by real-life gawky musician Landon Pigg).

ellenlangdon

Well, maybe “realistic” isn’t the right word. But, it’s a resolution that shows us how much Bliss has grown up and come into her own as a result of… roller derby. (haha, I feel silly even writing that)

Ok, whoah, but what about the underwater hook-up scene? Unnecessary or what??  *Flouders to hold breath while taking off stockings* Also, Oliver doesn’t seem to take off any of his clothes underwater, but Bliss does. Curious…

This movie had a surprising amount of emotional weight, considering that it is, as I said, a coming-of-age sports movie directed by Drew Barrymore. It balances serious material with pure fun in a way that really works, and I think this film’s portrayal of women and their relationships is, quite seriously, one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Go see it with your sister, or your mom, or whoever. Your brother or your cousin or yourself. I LOVE THIS MOVIE and I give it the 4/4 seal of approval.

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