Whip It
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2

Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Alia Shawkat, Eve, Zoe Bell, Ari Graynor, Eulala Scheel, Andrew Wilson, Carlo Alban, Landon Pigg, Rachel Piplica, Kristen Adolfi, Daniel Stern. Screenplay by Shauna Cross. Directed by Drew Barrymore

FILM SYNOPSIS: Whip It, the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, stars Ellen Page as Bliss, a rebellious Texas teen who throws in her small town beauty pageant crown for the rowdy world of roller derby. She joins the Hurl Scouts (the team wears abbreviated Girl Scout uniforms) and becomes Babe Ruthless, the team’s fastest skater. Marcia Gay Harden plays Bliss’ disapproving mother, while Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig and Juliette Lewis play roller-derby stars.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Let’s get this out of the way, first – the language. There’s not much objectionable, just about five or so uses of the s-word, which is apparently the new “darn it.” It’s in nearly every film, except most animated family films. That always raises an eyebrow. What makes an obscenity okay for adults if unsuitable for children? Then there are three uses of God’s name followed by a curse, one of these profanities comes from Drew Barrymore – sweet little hippy-dippy Drew Barrymore, who’s so concerned about the world respecting the rights of all. She protects everyone but evidently sees little need to follow the directive of the Bible’s Third Commandment. Not sure if she knows that the profane use of God’s name or Christ’s insults and injures people of faith. This is always a shame when crude or obscene language substitutes for wit. Of course, the argument could be made, “What do you expect from a movie about roller derby babes?”

Language aside, this is a film with positive statements. It’s a story about mothers and daughters, about seeking your own dreams while showing regard for the dreams of others. It’s a funny, tender movie. Ms. Barrymore shows a director’s sensitivity with pacing and character development. While she may have better served the film by staying behind the camera, she keeps the energy up and allows the audience to get involved with its central characters. Far superior to the 1972 film Kansas City Bomber, with Raquel Welch, this film is aided by the talented Ellen Page, who’s aptly supported by Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis and Daniel Stern as her bossed-about dad.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Crude Language: Some crude and suggestive sexual comments
Obscene Language: Six obscenities are used, five of the s-word and one of the f-word.
Profanity: Three profane uses of God’s name.
Violence: Lots of roller derby punches, plop-downs and over-the-rails action; that said, it is tamer than most examples of the genre. Blood: Some blood spurting when one of the ladies gets elbowed to the nose.
Sexual Intercourse: One sexual situation begins in a pool, where our young heroine is about to give herself to a guy she thinks loves her; the scene cuts away, but it is revealed later that the twosome slept together.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: Two young women are seen in a hot tub; while that tableau is intimate, it does not necessarily suggest that they are lesbians.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some drinking at a party; later we see the young heroine offered a sip of beer by her dad – then proceeds to gulp the entire can – this implies that at 17, she’s had some drinking experience.
Other: None
Running Time: 111 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

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