Sunday, January 26, 2014

Whip It (2009) [PG-13] ****

TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls is a league of women's roller skating teams located in Austin, Texas. Each contest pits two teams against each other. They skate around an indoor, banked oval track, scoring points by circling the track as lead skater, using brute force methods like crashing into each other, and tactics like the slingshot or whip move, which accelerates a small, lightweight team member through the opposing team to the front of the pack. The women, in their twenties and thirties, wear outrageous costumes and assume equally outrageous names, and they all love roller skating.

Near the city of Austin lies the tiny fictional town of Bodeen, where Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) lives with her parents (Daniel Stern and Marcia Gay Harden). Bliss's mother wants her to compete in beauty pageants, but Bliss, a high school senior and a directionless misfit, hates pageants, prefers the grunge look, and works after school in a local hamburger joint called the Oink Joint. One weekend, while on a shopping trip to Austin with her mother, Bliss picks up a TXRD flyer. Intrigued, she and her best friend and co-worker, Pash (Alia Shawkat), drive back to Austin to check it out. Bliss discovers her passion and the rest is history.

Based on the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, who also wrote the screenplay, and directed by Drew Barrymore, who has a supporting role, this is an amusing, if somewhat uneven, low-budget, independent production. The film is strongest in the dramatic, coming-of-age scenes between Bliss and her mother, and in the scenes between Bliss and the other roller girls, especially Kristen Wiig and Juliette Lewis, who are both very good in supporting roles. If you are a fan of Ellen Page, you will definitely not want to miss Whip It

Labels: comedy, drama, sport    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 68/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=70, viewers=74)    
TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls Website

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