FILM REVIEW: Whip It (Cert 12A)

LOOK how far the scared little girl from ET has come. Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with this comedy drama starring Ellen Page. (Juno in Juno). There are appearances too from director Drew Barrymore and the busy Kristen Wiig; who has appear

LOOK how far the scared little girl from ET has come.

Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with this comedy drama starring Ellen Page. (Juno in Juno).

There are appearances too from director Drew Barrymore and the busy Kristen Wiig; who has appeared in 22 movies in the last two years (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Ghost Town and the dreadful Adventureland).

Whip It (named after a roller-skating move) is a poorly-formed drama wrapped in a few funny one liners (and sight gags of people slipping over on roller skates of course).

A teenager in her final year at college, doesn't quite fit in with everyone else (apart from her best friend) and has parents who want her to change.

She finds a leaflet about women's roller derby and decides to watch. She falls in love with the dirty rebellion of the whole thing, loving the contact and freedom. So she joins a training group and lo and behold she is a natural.

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It continues with an unlikely team of misfits fighting their way to the top of the league (think Cool Runnings with women on roller skates).

The reusing of traditional teenage movie issues is forgiveable, but the damned repeat of the exact movie structure of every similar thing is grating. Life is average, things look up when something / someone unexpected comes along, life is great, something gets in the way, life is even worse than before, things get sorted out, life is great again and the future is bright.

It's a tired formula and I wish screenwriters would grow out of it.

On a positive note, some of the music's great though underused. No Surprises by Radiohead began and faded away in 15 seconds.

The opening with Kings Of Leon was great and appearances from The Breeders and MGMT were cool additions.

Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden (her mother) and Daniel Stern (her father) all gave compassionate and interesting performances. The parent / daughter relationship dynamic was the most interesting part of the film.

2/5 stars

TIM LINCE

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