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Review: Whip It

Drew Barrymore's directorial debut falls flat
By PETER KEOUGH  |  September 30, 2009
1.5 1.5 Stars

  

Add a dash of the sad beauty contests and kooky, dysfunctional family of Little Miss Sunshine to a helping of the bogus hipness and overexposed star of Juno and whip it good and you get an idea of why Drew Barrymore's directorial debut falls flat as a sappy soufflé. Ex-Juno waif Ellen Page plays Bliss Cavendar, a misfit small-town teen brow-beaten by her basilisk mom (Marcia Gay Harden, needless to say), Brooke, into futile participation in beauty contests.

Timid Bliss rebels, not via pregnancy and hamburger phones, but by joining a roller-derby team and knocking heads with a cast of roughnecks who include Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig, and Barrymore herself. Any chance this is going to hinge on the simultaneous scheduling of the championship match and the big beauty contest?

The roller-derby action is as listless as the comic back-and-forth and the smarmy sentiment, but Barrymore at least proves she's no more mediocre than anyone else at directing such pap.

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