Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with Whip It!, the story of an ex-beauty pageant contestant named Bliss (played by Juno’s Ellen Page) who leaves her crowns behind after joining a roller-derby team. While her mother would prefer that Bliss unlace her skates and step back before the judges, the rebellious teen instead seeks the wisdom of rowdy mentor Malice in Wonderland (Kristen Wiig) in learning the tricks of the circuit track. The Mandate Pictures production was written by roller derby star-turned-screenwriter Shauna Cross.
“Whip It” is an off-beat and different kind of comedy. It’s not every two weeks you see a film about some rowdy roller-derby girls and a character like Bliss (Ellen Page). Bliss shows up at a beauty pageant with a shade of blue in her hair. Her mother is fit to be tied. When Bliss comes across a roller derby event, she is immediately hooked. It is much more to her liking than beauty pageants. Soon she joins the Hurl Scouts team and it doesn’t take her long to get over her timidity. She soon becomes known as “Babe Ruthless” as she can take down other skaters with the best of them. She has speed and passion and her presence makes the team a much better team. Soon they begin to head toward something they have never been part of before, a championship match against another team.
However, the championship match comes on the same night as a beauty pageant Bliss’ mother had planned on her attending, and Bliss has to finally admit to her parents that she hasn’t really been studying for SAT’s but has been involved in the derby. One parent has to sign for Bliss to have legitimate permission for her to go to the match, due to the fact she is seventeen. This leads to a climatic showdown and conclusion to the film. Although the movie does take on a kind of different subject matter, and Bliss does follow her heart, a good theme, it unfortunately has strong language peppered in throughout and is strong in the sexual content regarding comments and an unmarried couple having sex. Bliss also deceives her parents although she comes clean by movie’s end. Due to the aforementioned content issues we therefore are unable to award this movie our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.