What, a serious movie about women in a
roller derby? Well, yes,
tattoos and flying-over-the-railing and skimpy, cheesy outfits and the whole
slanted oval. But Drew Barrymore, in her debut as a movie director,
was smart enough to snag the one young female star who could really propel
this thing around the small, smoke-filled track: Ellen Page, of
“Juno” fame, whose face is just innocent enough to be alluring, and
whose skating skills are just good enough to look realistic, and whose
acting is just focused enough to help us suspend our disbelief for a while,
even in a predictable plot.
Teenage girl named Bliss gets dragged
to beauty contests by her postal-carrier Mom (the perfectly-cast Marcia Gay
Harden). Girl is a rebel
without a cause, but in the roller derby she finds the perfect vehicle for
her late adolescent rebellion: sneak
out of the house, lace ‘em up, and kick some serious redneck booty (and
you have to like Juliette Lewis as the scowling, tough-girl rival).
Jimmy Fallon hams it up as the MC in the smoke-filled rink
(reminiscent of a carnival barker doing boxing matches in black and white).
Drew casts herself as one of the skaters, but at least she doesn’t
trip over her own inclusiveness. The term “Whip It” refers to a
slingshot kind of move, where a teammate slings our petite little fireball
so hard around a curve that she passes opposing players (which is
technically how to score points, but everyone knows that the real style
points are in the bumps, grinds, and bruises jockeying with the other team
for position). Nobody gets a
free skate. Everyone gets
smashed and falls to the hard floor, to the delight of the cheering and
jeering crowd, while they pop open another beer.
Well, at least the parental conflict
is in the context of a good, formative relationship.
At least the new boyfriend stuff doesn’t get her in too much
trouble. And sure, as long as
we’re dreaming, why not have her friend at the local eatery get accepted
into an Ivy League school while waiting tables for pocket change?
This is, after all, about chasing your dream.
Around and around and around and around………………
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace