d. Drew Barrymore / 2009 / USA / 111 min
Viewed at: Screen 2 @ Empire Leicester Square (London, UK)
Ambivalence. That is undoubtedly the best word to describe my reaction to Whip It, Drew Barrymore’s admirable directorial debut. I mean, it’s enjoyable enough, and the bad bits (overuse of music, hipster scene setting, girl-power, Ellen Page, etc.) weren’t all that bad, but neither were the good bits all that, well, good.
You can’t help feeling that this is a fairly earnest effort from Barrymore, but any attempt by commercial cinema to portray a particular subculture or ‘cool’ scene is fraught with danger, and immediately sends my bullshit seismometer into overdrive. Barrymore navigates it well enough, gracefully side-stepping the possibility of yet another tedious indie rom-com, but I just can’t help wondering ‘what’s the point?’
Then again, I’m sure that if I were a adolescent teenage girl from a small town where nobody seemed to understand me, I might feel a little differently.