Oct 072009
Authors: Laura James

Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut “Whip It” has some serious guts.

The coming-of-age flick stars Ellen Page (Juno) as Bliss, an average 17-year-old girl who lives in a small town in Texas.

Audiences find Bliss a young woman unsure of herself, working a dead-end job at the Oink Joint while her controlling mother forces her into beauty pageants.

But one fateful day while roadtripping to nearby Austin, Bliss discovers a flyer for a women’s roller-derby league. Intrigued, she decides to go to the match with her best friend Pash, played by Alia Shawkat,

While in Austin, she falls in love with the idea of becoming a roller-derby star, deciding to attempt tryouts. Having a natural talent for skating and impressive speed, Bliss runs into a snag as the league only accepts participants who are 21 and older.

Bliss lies about her age to join her team, the “Hurl Scouts,” and is quickly accepted as the brave new roller-derby warrior “Babe Ruthless.”

As her talent progresses, Bliss runs down a string of lies to her parents about roller-derby, claiming she’s taking an SAT course

She falls in love with a musician and she makes mortal enemies with the league’s most brutal roller assassin “Iron Maven,” played by Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers, Old School), from their rival team the “Holy Rollers.”

Eventually her lie catches up with her, and Bliss is forced to confess her real age to her teammates and to her parents that she hasn’t been taking an SAT course. Her mother is predictably upset, sending Bliss to complete the Blue Bonnet Beauty Pageant instead of going to the championships with the Hurl Scouts.

Actor Daniel Stern (Home Alone, Celtic Pride) co-stars as Bliss’s father Earl. Earl likes the idea of Bliss being an athlete instead of a beauty queen, and decides to give his daughter a shot at the championships despite his wife’s disapproval.

With cameos from Barrymore herself, Saturday Night Live alums Kristin Wiig and Jimmy Fallon, rapper Eve and Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River), “Whip It” barrels down on all eight wheels.

It’s definitely a hit, and inspired moviegoers can attend the FoCo Girls Gone Derby’s Black and Blue Ball Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Rollerland Skate Center on 324 S. Link Lane.

For more information, visit http://www.focogirlsgonederby.com.

Movie reviewer Laura James can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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