[Ed. note: in a very special edition of the Videogum Movie Club, our chief America's Next Top Model correspondent, Gabe Liedman, leads the Koffee Klatsch.]

When I first heard that Drew Barrymore was set to direct her first feature film, I immediately whipped out my No Doy Diary, scribbled five stars in puffy paint, and burnt the house down. Obviously: this was going to be a movie that I would enjoy. Perhaps it DEFINITELY goes without saying that I am not a film critic. I’ve never “seen” most “classics.” Netflix stopped recommending movies to me, and sent me a coupon for a brain transplant instead.

I’m a big, big fan of Drew Barrymore’s. I know that some people couldn’t give two shits about her, and that makes sense. But think about this: her public identity is the real life Benjamin Button (tweaked out disco MILF at 10, quirky tween goof at 34…Osh Kosh Bgosh runway model at 70?).

I can’t say exactly when this love started. I feel as though Drew and I have been sisters for my whole life (sorry my real sister, Amy). A few years back, when I was still a shit-head and worked retail, I had the pleasure of waiting on Ms. Barrymore. While she shopped, I fished around in my tiny jeans to see if I could find the balls to express my <3 to her, but they were nowhere to be found.

She ended up buying a fierce Margiela coat, and while I was wrapping it up for her, I said "this is so soft," to which she responded "I know, I'm gonna sleep in it. JUSTKIDDINGBYEEEEE."

If I was straight, I would enter a polygamist union with Drew Barrymore, Sarah Paulson, and Amanda Seyfried. Every morning, I would help them curl tiny prom tendrils into their front hairs, and then we would practice lisping confidently and crying on command. Gretchen Mol would do our taxes, and when we needed advice about stuff, we'd call Holly Hunter.

So, I saw Whip It this weekend, by myself, in a mostly-empty theater, except for about 8 bears and a J.V. softball team. It was definitely a movie for people whose shirts don’t fit so great in the chest. I totes enjoyed it.

Whip It is the kind of cougar/cub lesbian upskirt porno rom-com that I can get behind. Starring Ellen Page as a girl who would DEFINITELY get an abortion if some dork sperm’d her, the movie is a fun, formulaic, girl-bruise fest that’s a little bit A League of Their Own and a lot a bit Dazed and Confused. It’s full of hazing, Manic Panic, and twee indie music (Page’s character Bliss loses her v-card underwater while a Jens Lekman song plays)–needless to say, there wasn’t a dry seat in the house.

Ellen Page is actually good in Whip It (after Juno, I wanted to put her in drama-camp-jail), and her chemistry with on-screen bestie Pash (Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat) is authentic and nice. Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Page’s mother, is as good as always, and happens to be the only person in the entire movie who even tries to do a Texas accent. Her character is a USPS mail lady, who smokes, and used to be a beauty queen (I guess Allison Janney was busy?); but M. Gay H. performed it like it wasn’t a big dumb cliché, and in the end, it didn’t seem like one.

M. Gay H.’s character wants her daughter to be a beauty queen like her, but Ellen Page wants more excitement in her life. While shopping for vintage combat boots in Austin, she catches her first glimpse of some tattooed Suicide Girl roller derby chicks, and falls in love with their inky slut bodies. She ends up secretly trying out for a derby team, and getting taken under the collective she-wing of The Hurl Scouts–the worst team in the league, with the best attitude about being horrible.

The Hurl Scouts are comprised of Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig, who is the opposite of whacky in this, and actually teaches Ellen Page how to be more respectful to her mother), Rosa Sparks (the fierce rapper Eve, who has like 8 lines, but is totally good at them), Smashley Simpson (film auteur Drew Barrymore as a loveable dumb-dumb), and Bloody Holly (stuntwoman-cum “actress” Zoe Bell). They all love to roller-skate around and beat the shit out of other girls; and even though Kristen Wiig has a kid, they are definitely all gay, because none of them even looks twice at their coach, Razor–an incredibly retro-hot, fuck-machine-looking dude who loves them for who they are (played by Andrew Wilson, who’s had tiny anonymous parts in thousands of movies over the last 10 years).

Ellen Page turns out to be amazing at roller derby-ing, because she is small and fast and her you-know-what is nice and tight and fresh. With her on their team, the Hurl Scouts start doing well for the first time ever, and that makes Juliette Lewis VERY muscular upset. See, she’s used to being the best–her character is a dominant top with a taste for jailbait, and that’s where all the hazing comes in. It climaxes in a very sexy food fight, natch.

The plot plays out like shitty Xerox of The Bad News Bears remake’s screenplay, with a love story between Ellen Page and twink-rocker Landon Pigg thrown in for the fuck of it. Landon has an amazing last name in real life, and got cast in the role of Oliver when Drew Barrymore put her Boink-O-Dex on shuffle.

Everything that’s supposed to happen does–if you’ve seen the poster for this movie, then you already know it by heart. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing, if you enjoy loveable bullshit, gay-ass ’90s fashion, and music that sounds like tiny kisses; or, if you wish Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller movies were a little less intense, then you’ll also enjoy Whip It.

The direction, the look, the acting–it’s all very relaxed and kind of subtle, considering what the movie’s about. It’s like a soft-boiled egg–gloopy, comforting, familiar, yet easily re-branded as gourmet. Drew Barrymore’s touch is light, and you can tell that she created a very chill on-set vibe, which comes across in the effortlessness of it all. And, don’t get me wrong–it wasn’t “seemingly effortless”–it was straight up effortlessness, where no one was trying very hard, and everything kind of figured itself out.

Of course, roller derby is ripe for action, and there was some, but not a ton of in Whip It. If Drew and I were cuddled up around her Charlie’s-Angels-silhouette-shaped-bong talking shop, I’d probably tell her to throw a couple more tit-slamming, spine-crushing collisions and high-speed clavicle-clawing catfights in there for good measure. But, as is, Whip It has as much as it needed to make its point. The point, of course, being that lesbians deserve respect because some of them are very pretty (in that “interesting” kind of way). Also: be nice to your mom, she’s so tired from delivering everyone’s mail!!!!!!!!!

What else? Oh, yeah, Daniel Stern isn’t dead, but he IS pretty fat, and Jimmy Fallon is in it too!

But, mostly, HI DREW BARRYMORE!!! U made a movie, din’choo, gurw.

Comments (71)
  1. The single best movie review ever. (Sorry, Robert Ebert.)

    • Err, Roger.

    • I like “Robert Ebert” better. It sounds like what Lucille Bluth would call him.

      In other news, don’t leave us for California too, Gabe L. Then we will be completely Gabeless! (But “Gabe & Gabe Rock Cali” sounds like a good show.) All our gloating about our many Gabes when you came is coming back to haunt us.

      • Speaking of all the Gabes up in here, when I first started reading this, I assumed it was by Old Gabe, which led to me being very confused by the upbeat-ness and excessive love for Drew Barrymore. I have a medical condition that prohibits me from reading italic font.

  2. i would have gone to see this, but my girlfriend’s thundercats went go! this weekend so i was busy with that whole mess

  3. Page’s character Bliss loses her v-card underwater while a Jens Lekman song plays.

    Somebody get a cigarette.

  4. I thought this movie title was on reserve for the DEVO rockumentary, either way, lot’s of warm fuzzies for this review

  5. its cheesy, and formulaic. whatever. its awesome.

    • Well said. I brought beer to the theater and saw it with free passes. Not even booze! Beer! The fact that it was a fun-fest just made for a great night.

      Who needs to be drunk when you have the air-tight combo of cast, plot device, and calculated soundtrack! If I had time-travel potion I would mos def go back and kill Hitler, arrest Polanski, then exchange money to see Whip It again.

  6. Ugh. Sorry, I saw a different movie. I wanted to like this, but the dialogue was so gross and unreal. There were so many a-very-special-episode-of-Blossom moments that seemed forced. And Jimmy Fallon (who I also wanted to like) kind of tanked (as did his shadowy facial hair). Ellen Page’s acting can be reduced to “I’m going to make a doe eyed face and hold it, shifting my mouth and eyes slightly, for about 20 seconds”, repeat. My dog makes those same acting faces when there’s a high pitched noise coming from the TV. But its better when my dog does it – she thinks she’s people!!

    I’m so totes cool with bad movies and the-underdog-wins sports movies, and cheesy plotlines that would never work out IRL, but you just go with it anyway for the sake of the ending we all want, regardless of how realistic is it. But even so, I could hardly stand this movie. The story was all over the place and it felt like Drew Barrymore was surrounded by “yes men”. Someone needed to say, “no, honey. please try again” throughout much of the film.

    You are right about M Gay H, though. She was great. And Kristen Wiig, too. And it was nice to see Maeby Fünke again.

    • im just gonna let you know that i tapped out of your post about three sentences in.

    • i think my feelings about this movie were colored by having seen “the invention of lying” the night before. the theater was completely silent except for one line, which was of course said by louis ck. worst movie i have seen in a long long time. and then the next night i got to see this fun thing with the hot coach and the good soundtrack. thumbs up.

    • Also, did I dream this, or did they refer to mascara as “lash blast?” Ladies and Gentlemen: Director/Cover Girl spokesperson Drew Barrymore!

      (I <3 u Drew, but no.)

  7. Ah yes, yum Andrew Wilson.

    • Seriously. I had no intention of seeing this movie, but now that I know Futureman/ Beef Supreme (possibly my two favorite movie characters ever) is in this I’m going to have to check it out.

  8. Are we sure the kid from the Sonic the Hedgehog video didn’t write this review? Good stuff other Gabe.

    • That’s mean to call him Other Gabe. Let’s call one Gabe A, and the other Gabe 1. Or we can call him Replacement Lindsay. (I kid, Other Gabe! We wuv u.)

      • I call Gabe D. ‘Hard Gabe’ and me ‘Soft Gabe,’ because of our body types. Does that help? Also: call me anything!

        • I’ll call one of you Awesome Gabe and other one Lame Fuckface Gabe. To win my love, you must duel to the death! (Just joking. My love isn’t worth dueling over. Now I’ll just finish my pint of java chip ice cream that is lightly salted with my tears and cross my ringless fingers and hope that a Golden Girls marathon is coming up this Friday night on Lifetime so I’ll have something to do besides call the 1-800 comment lines on products’ packaging and weeping to the operators about how I’ll never find a man.)

          • I dunno. I kind of like the ‘fight for our love’ idea. but only if they posted a video…or it could be a live feed where we tell them what to do and they do it and then it spirals down that oh so slippery sexual hill … oh my. is it hot in here? you look awfully warm. you might need to take of that shirt. Yeah. yeah. now kiss.

          • All sexual hills are slippery. But are all slippery hills sexual?

          • no. but they can turn on a dime. I can’t (can) tell you the amount of times I was sliding down an icy or muddy hill and *pow* sex. (zero)

  9. i may have been intoxicated during the viewing of this film, and also missed the ending due to having to pee like nobody’s business, but i liked it! so did everybody else in the theater. if you are on the fence about getting a tattoo this movie will push you towards getting one. my favorite part was SPOILER that she didn’t end up with that guy. what was that british-ass dude doing in texas anyway?

  10. Don’t care about the movie, don’t care about Drew B, don’t care about Ellen Page, somehow still think this is the best movie review ever.

  11. Are you calling Ellen Page’s character abortionhorny?

  12. I can’t hate Drew Barrymore…especially since I was too lazy to go see Whip It! and stayed inside and watched Firestarter instead.

  13. Thanks, Gabe. You made me cry. From laughter. Tears are streaming down my face. As I try to not choke. “If I was straight, I would enter a polygamist union…” Annnnd I’m passing out.
    Old Gabe [that's what we call him, ever since he abandoned us for California] better start TalbainJ-ing Harder.

  14. I really liked this movie, but I am a roller derby fan, and a nineteen-year-old female, and I didn’t like There Will Be Blood.

  15. More like Wiig It, am I right.

    Ok.

  16. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Anybody remember Drew Barrymore’s tits at the 2006 Golden Globes? Hoochie mama!

  17. Predictably great. Zoe Bell can fall over my railing any time. Is this the right place to make “on my car hood any time” jokes?

    Seriously great leading ladies pizza party. We could use more mash-ups of fantastic women in entertainmentland participating in feminist subculture activities in our lives.

  18. I really enjoyed the movie a lot. They shot some of it here in Michigan so I felt compelled to support that, I suppose. I love that real bff’s Ellen and Alia were in it together as well. I know he is a Wilson brother but the whole time I felt like Andrew’s dialogue was overdubbed by Owen, but he was very good.

  19. It was surprisingly good. Hey, how ’bout that Daniel Stern? That guy’s great! And Ellen Page is much better when she’s not talking into a hamburger phone. Honest blog.

  20. (new)Gabe, I can tell you and I would be great friends IRL. But only if you would agree to watch all the seasons of The L Word with me every year.
    And I totally get you, Drew Barrymore hits my gay hormone so hard.

  21. Hey remember how Ellen Page was actually pretty good in Juno?
    Me neither, but all my friends sure do.
    I need new friends I suppose.

    But seriously, Whip It was good times

  22. alright I thought this movie was so so, but there was one scene that freagin killed me. The scene when they were in the pool was unreal! But really, it was unreal. It lasted the entirety of the song (I think?) and they a) never came up for air and b) kissed in every new shot. It was so distracting! It could have been cool if I wasn’t thinking about how bizarre it would be to go under, kiss, then go back for air over and over and over. And over.! Also, what about Andrew Wilson (of Wilson Brother heritage)? I thought he was one of the best parts. o well

    • Isn’t it weird that Andrew is the better looking (not a weird nose) of the Wilson brothers yet he has less success than either of his brothers.

  23. drew seems to put andrew wilson in every movie she’s in. i checked him out on imdb and he was in ‘never been kissed’, both ‘charlie’s angels’, and ‘fever pitch.’ she must really like him.

    a friend worked on this movie and he said drew was awesome. i was hoping i could come to visit him and meet her so she could become my bestie, but it didn’t happen.

    also, i was walking my dog the other night and passed a bus ad for the movie, with the subtitle ‘find your tribe’ and totally started crying and nodding. i haven’t seen this movie but i am unabashedly excited to see it.

    p.s. soft gabe, i saw you at big terrific a couple of weeks ago and you were so good! i’m such a sad comedy groupie.

  24. New Gabe is our new best friend! Or at least my new imaginary online best friend. That would be :( except the review is so full of :) I can’t stay sad. This plus the ANTM recaps equals <3 4ever.

  25. Gabe: “American Gothic” Sarah Paulson? Or Sarah Paulson now? I’m on a need-to-know basis and I needz to know!

  26. man i had the hardest time with this article because i missed the first part where it said it was written by Gabe L.
    I was just like “IS HE BEING SARCASTIC? I… I DONT UNDERSTAND. IS HE USING THAT HEART EMOTICON FACETIOUSLY? WHAT IS GOING ON”

    anyway, this review was way better the second time around.

  27. this appears to be new gabe’s coming out party. wait, i didn’t mean it like that. more like a debutante at a ball. you’re the belle of the ball, ann hog.

  28. Paul  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 +1

    Hey, other Gabe, you should review that TV adaption of Grey Gardens that has Barrymore in it. I know it’s no longer new and is not in need of a review, but A) it has Drew Barrymore B) your review style is hilarious and great C) It was very good. Do it!

  29. I think Drew Barrymore’s only asset is her cutesy-wutesy smile, and if that does not work for you, then she’s got nothing. I don’t find her very attractive and I also do think she’s much of an actress, but you never know, maybe she is a directing maniac like Tarantino who can’t act for shit but can make others look good. But somehow I doubt it. Jimmy Fallon, Juliet Lewis, and Ellen Page – sorry, but I think they all suck. Sorry fellow gumsters to be so negative, but it’s been one of those days.

  30. sae  |   Posted on Oct 9th, 2009 -2

    Jimmy Fallon, Juliet Lewis, and Ellen Page….

    so basically Satan was the Casting Director for this??

  31. Drew Berrymore at the roller derby? It was bound to happen sometime.

  32. Drew Berrymore at the roller derby? It was bound to happen sometime.

  33. i liked whip it…and i went into it already hating ellen page and after reading the marie claire issue where drew barrymore and ellen page came out of the closet…
    it was really fun but i think a roller derby movie shouldve happened circa 2000…
    i still doubt ellen page’s abilities to ACT unlike herself, but she was less annoying in this movie and Kristen Wiig proved she can do anything.

  34. thanks for this blog and comments on Whip It:

    Here is a whip it luv story set to the remixed tune of Let Me Blow Ya Mind by Eve and Gwen Stefani…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-YQ4_bcThs

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.