Jamming With Whip It (2009)

Whip It’s one of those movies that seemed pretty interesting when I first heard about it (Drew Barrymore directing a roller derby movie starring Ellen Page and Kristen Wiig? sold), didn’t see it in the theaters and then took forever to actually see because it seems to be one of those flicks everyone wants to watch from Netflix so it takes forever to get. A friend of ours was waiting for a long time too. We both had the movie on the top of our queues. Last week I stopped in at Blockbuster to take advantage of their five for $25 deal and picked up My Bloody Valentine 3D (without glasses, so I ordered them), Punisher Wars Zone, (500) Days Of Summer, National Treasure 2 and Whip It. Just because it would be easier to spend the four bucks and see the damn thing.

In the end it wasn’t really worth the wait. I mean, it’s an alright movie, that does have an uplifting message at the end, but it’s pretty damn formulaic. Our heroine, Ellen Page, lies about her age to try out for the Austin roller derby teams. She makes it, her friend helps her with her lies, she meets a boy, she’s really good at roller derby and, as you would expect, everything comes crashing down on her and it looks like she won’t be able to play in the big game because, you guessed it, the beauty pageant she’s supposed to be in is the same day! Ugh. I could have outlined the movie ahead of time and had a drink every time I was right. If that were the case, I don’t think I’d be able to type right now.

It’s by no means a bad movie even though the plot is very been-there-done-that if you’ve been watching movies for a while. Barrymore does a serviceable job directing though the movie could have used some better editing. In one sequence, for example, the girls (Page and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat) are at a party, they’re both flirting with boys, one throws up and the next thing you know they’re in a bed together in a room alone. Is it at one of their houses? Is it the house the party was in? What is happening?

From what I’ve seen in the rad documentary Hell On Wheels (which I could have sworn I wrote about on here, but must have instead explained it in great detail to someone, probably the missus) which is about the real deal Austin roller derby women who helped kick this trend back into gear, the action and the game seem pretty legit, though I’m sure there’s stuff in there that upsets the roller derby aficionados (like when us geeks watch the X-Men movies and yell at the screen for the little things).

So, no, it’s not the most original movie in the world, but I would recommend it to anyone interested in roller derby (after watching Hell On Wheels, it is on Netflix Instant last I checked), roller derby fans, people who haven’t seen too many teen movies and every teenage girl ever. Too long has this kind of movie been the territory of men (I love how proud the dad is that his girl can knock some bitches out, just as proud as the neighbor with the football kids). I’d make this mandatory viewing for girls and will show it to mine if I ever have any on Holovision or whatever the hell we’ll be watching movies on in THE FUTURE (gotta say it like an old timey cartoon or it just doesn’t work). Also, bonus points for the Star Wars names that got snuck in like Jabba The Slutt and Princess Slayah. Well played.

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