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Whip It


Stars: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, Alia Shawkat, Ari Graynor, Jimmy Fallon, Kristen Wiig, Eve, Zoe Bell, Daniel Stern

Director: Drew Barrymore

Thimble-sized Page, daughter of tall, solid Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern (hmm), decides to cast off the teenage beauty circuit beloved of her mother and throw her tiny, 17-year-old frame into the rough-and-tumble world of women's roller derbies. Amazingly, she proves lightning quick on roller skates, and - now known as Babe Ruthless - in no time at all has become the star of the no-hope Scouts team on the local skating circuit. Well, I suppose it could happen.

Unfortunately, the sport itself isn't particularly exciting, and the rules will baffle most untutored audiences. Suffice it to say that the 'jammer' - that's Ellen - must skate past four opposing players to earn four points. She can be banged to the ground, though, and frequently is, though the perennial commentator (Fallon) takes advantage of her size to proclaim; 'She's back up - like a weeble.'

There's a romance for Ellen with a nondescript musician (Landon Pigg) and, of course, a reconciliation with her parents at the end.

Lewis, as 'Iron Maven', her big rival, and Shawkat, as her friend at the Oink diner where she works (where does she find time for school?) both catch the eye, and the girls' names are an entertainment in themselves: I especially liked Eva Destruction and Jabba the Slut. Director Barrymore, however, allows co-star Barrymore to go much too far over the top as one of Ellen's teammates.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Lionsgate (Fox Searchlight). Colour by deluxe.
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 05 Apr 2010