Amazon Holiday

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whip It

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A teenage girl (Ellen Page) discovers roller derby, and against her parents' wishes, she sneaks out to a secret world, where she becomes a celebrity bad ass.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Alia Shawkat, Daniel Stern, Landon Pigg, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Andrew Wilson, Eve, Zoe Bell, Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Habel, Eulala Scheel, Carlo Alban, Ari Graynor

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. For such a simplistic movie, I was surprised at how difficult a time I sometimes had following along. On the positive side, there is a potentially interesting mother-daughter conflict, and a lot of cool characters inside of a lot of arbitrary scenes.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: In true sports-comedy form, the best laughs come from the game time announcer.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: That is certainly its goal, as confirmed by the actors who showed up for a Q & A, and told us that director, Drew Barrymore, got emotional and cried regularly while explaining what each scene was about to her actors.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: It wants to be this year's Juno, but it's really not. That said, Drew Barrymore will probably get a few nods in the First Time Director category, wherever those are available, because it's a good way to get her to show up for your ceremony.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Andrew Wilson (the oldest, cutest, and least famous Wilson brother) will finally have a chance to break out in his role as the disrespected coach, possibly even making his way toward the status his sibs have enjoyed since Bottle Rocket. Drew Barrymore has a small but delightfully unusual role. Kristen Wiig continues to deliver lines in her own strange manner, which is always weird at first, but grows on you, and delivers unexpected laughs. And I guess I sort of have to mention Ellen Page, who is cute as a button, but not always at home in character traits that don't involve being a smart aleck. She's supposed to be a Texan pageant girl who goes through a transformation to become a hard core derby girl. And while she's great as the tough bitch she becomes, you never really buy her as the sweet Texan she was supposedly passing as before she began her rebellion.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: You really root for Drew in her first foray into directing, but this movie, and the directing in particular, have got a lot of problems. Several scenes seem to exist purely because they were fun for her to film. One is a food fight, which advances the story in no way whatsoever, but looked like it might have been fun to participate in. And even more jarring, is an extended, underwater love scene in a swimming pool. For no reason and with no prompting, the two teenagers jump in wearing all their clothes (including dress shoes and leather jackets) and then undress underwater-- basically implying that they were planning to take off their clothes all along. So it makes no sense that they would deliberately ruin their best gear. Not even a teenager would be that illogical! Then the underwater seduction leads to an underwater kiss, which I don't have to remind you, isn't even possible for those of us who don't have gills. Furthermore, not being able to breathe is one of the least sexy things I can imagine... It would make a cool music video (which I'm sure it eventually will, since the boy is in a band in the movie, and a singer in real life), but in a movie that's supposed to be logical, this scene reeks of, "Hey, look guys! They gave me an underwater camera! We should use it! Where can we get a pool?"

Q: How is the story/script?

A: A lot of the scenes are energetic and fun, but this movie had some of the worst transitions I have ever seen. I struggled to understand how much time had passed from one scene to the next, and how far along we were in the progress of the sports season or the school year. Often, characters would just suddenly be somewhere new-- like at an indoor swimming pool-- and you didn't really know why or how they'd ended up there. And then there is the dialogue, some of which was so cryptic to me, that I literally had to turn to my friend and ask, "What was that supposed to mean?" Saddest of all being that after the conclusion of the love story, I couldn't be sure if the lovers had just broken up or made up.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: The music and the roller derby are pretty cool.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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1 comment:

Sam Kaufman said...

Drew Barrymore did an awesome job directing Whip It... tons of fun to watch -- made me want to go watch roller derby and drink cheap beer