Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Whip It Commentary

Sitting around on a Saturday evening with nothing to do, Steph suggests we watch Whip It on Netflix.  I'm sceptical.  It seems like a chick movie and stars that girl from Juno.  I didn't like Juno.  She was too angsty and too much of a jerk for me.  It's directed by Drew Barrymore.  I have nothing against Drew Barrymore but it seemed like it was going to be another lame attempt at actor turned director.  I'm glad I clicked on it instead of saying I'd rather not.  This movie was a huge surprise.

Yes, the story is a bit too hipster teen angst for my taste.  I'm starting to wonder if that's all Ellen Page can play.  (Maybe not because Inception was really good.)  But she plays it well.  Even though I didn't like Juno, her performance was good.  And in Whip It, she delivers again.  The whole subplot with the boyfriend in the band was completely unnecessary.  But it added to the angsty theme of the film and that's what they were going for.  Ultimately, it felt like a tacked on distraction.  But the rest was really good.

The supporting cast was very solid.  From Daniel Stern and Marcia Gay Harden as Page's parents to Alia Shawkat as the obligatory "less-pretty but oddly attractive and more controversial" best friend (all of these movies have one) to the entire roller derby cast, everyone plays their part at least competently.  Some go even farther and kind of steal the show.  Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig and Juliette Lewis are all very, very good.  But I think the one who performed higher than expected was Andrew Wilson.  The younger brother of Owen and Luke has never gotten the chances he deserves.  While he isn't quite up to either of those, you have to admit.  He's no Frank Stallone either.  I thought he was very believable and funny as the coach.

While it has the angst feel to it, it never goes overboard in that.  Whip It has plenty of laughs to keep you entertained while not going into the crude, bathroom humour that many comedies are doing now.  Its got just the right mix of high and low brow for pretty much anyone to enjoy it.  See it.

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