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Whip It.2009.Drew Barrymore

January.17.2010

Years ago, I had the knack of watching cheap sports over cable. I used to watch roller derby. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t understand how the game works. It was as simple as the visual pleasure of women hitting other women without the hint of being pervy or sleazy. I never knew what happened to that show and I am just glad that Drew Barrymore, the director and who is also an actress in this film came up with something as quirky as this.

I thought that there was a notion of Hollywood is getting tired of Ellen Page. It felt like Juno was her last hit until Whip It came. And that feeling for Page’s portrayal for the lead role was rejuvenated once again. She was totally fun and amusing in the film and it she fitted the film and vice versa.

The story is fairly simple. The girl enters the world of roller derby. She loved it that she would do everything for it. Then, we have the conservative parents who’ll probably say no to her request and instead pushes her to join a beauty contest. Yes, a very typical conservative family. To add, we have a great supporting cast with the likes of Marcia Gay Harden, Jimmy Fallon, Kirsten Wiig, Eve, and Juliette Lewis.

Barrymore’s use of indie music also gave the film life. This actually reminds me of the film Donnie Darko, where Drew Barrymore was also part of. I guess, nowadays, that is a great formula for a film; a quirky teenage film with a goal that would show how she’ll get there without the film looking trying hard or in layman’s term, simple.

An addition to the formula of this film include the required girl of a best friend who is not really an underachiever but clearly states that she’s not as good as her friend and then, the “dream guy”, who usually is cool and would give the lead character your usual insecurities that would provide the plot twist somewhere in the film, this reminds me of Bandslam actually, in a more subtler way of showing it.

In a world of movies where boxing and football gives us drama, basketball is related to family and comedy, and the rest gives us flavor, we have here something unpopular outside the states and this film shows us something not really new but something unique for our eyes. Yes, the fun in roller derby is back once again.

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