For What It Is, Whip It Works

Barrymore is a revelation—as a director
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2009 12:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – Drew Barrymore's Whip It isn't a revelation, but fans of the aspirational sports comedy/drama probably won't do better this season, critics forecast:

  • The film is "hard to mock and easy to like." Though it won't "change the way you think about movies, roller derby or the relations between teenage girls and their mothers, friends or dreams," AO Scott writes in the New York Times, "it does invite you to stop and appreciate all those things."

  • Peter Travers of Rolling Stone sees a rising behind-the-camera talent in Barrymore, who shows "real directing chops," but even that can't overcome a script that "dulls the edges" of its source material. In Whip It, Barrymore is "painting inside the box."
  • Whip It is in the fine tradition of coming-of-age sports flicks like Breaking Away, Mike Russell writes in the Oregonian. And Barrymore films the movie, "and especially the marvelous roller-derby sequences—in a low-key, take-your-time handheld style with more than a twinge of the '70s to it. She also seems to have digested the nuances, self-effacing humor and underlying psychology of 21st-century roller derby."