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Whip It - Blu-ray / comedy DVD review
WHIP IT Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon
Director: Drew Barrymore Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 26 January 2010 Runtime: 111 min. (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 2.40:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, Spanish), Alternate Opening, Deleted and extended scenes, Writers Draft with Shauna Cross

Ellen Page in WHIP ITBliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) is a small-town Texas teen at a crossroads. She's been doing beauty pageants for her mother for years and can stand with poise and grace and wax eloquent when speaking on inane subjects (which has got to be hard for a smart girl). She does these pageants for her mother's sake, but at 17 she's developing into her own person.

When Bliss finds a flier for a roller derby team, she decides to drag her friend Pash (Alia Shawkat of Arrested Development) to see a match. It's just the kind of thing that fits her style: powerful girls knocking each other around on a track. She keeps her parents in the dark about her new extracurricular activity, and her team in the dark about her actual age. It's not what her mom (Marcia Gay Harden) would approve of, and her father (Daniel Stern) is too milquetoast to trust with the secret. She sneaks off to Austin every week on a bingo bus to skate her heart out. She's got speed - that got her on the team - but needs to develop more backbone. She takes the name Babe Ruthless.

Whip It is a fun film about growing up and finding your way, reminiscent of Breaking Away (though Daniel Stern is on the other side of the generation gap in this one). It follows a familiar sports film formula - underdog sports team and the chance at getting the gold - but succeeds at showing us a slice of life that holds our interest.

Ellen Page proved in Juno and Hard Candy that she has the chops to carry a film, and she doesn't disappoint here. We believe her yearning because we've felt it ourselves.

The casting in Whip It is fantastic, including Kristin Wiig as Maggie Mayhem, Juliette Lewis as Iron Maven, and director Drew Barrymore as Smashley Simpson.

Barrymore's directorial debut is a long time coming, but well met. It's a fun film filled with heart and spirit, and it's covered with bruises. I'm no sports fan of any stripe, but Whip It is good fun from start to finish - and, like Breaking Away, more about growing up than the sport.

The Blu-ray edition comes with a digital copy of the film, and includes deleted scenes and a featurette on Whip It writer Shauna Cross. The only thing missing is director's commentary.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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