July 18, 2010

#087: Whip It (3/10)

I am not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to watch Whip It.  I really hadn't heard too many good things about it, but I held out hope that it would be an enjoyable film with a satisfying mix of humor and drama.  I was not expecting the mess of a film I got, and therefore can give it no more than a 3 out of 10.

There is quite a bit of things in Whip It that are supposed to be funny.  I would even go so far as to say it is intended to be a comedy.  However, I am not sure I laughed once during the whole thing.  Scratch that.  I did laugh several times while Landon Pigg was on screen, but it was because of his awkward acting and ridiculous facial expressions.  I felt like certain characters delivered genuine performances, but others didn't seem to be trying at all.  Just one of the many things about this film that felt so uneven.
The first half of Whip It caused me to cringe several times.  The jokes felt forced and missed the mark every time.  The plot seemed like it had a logical direction, but refused to go there without first showing us a bunch of stupid BS.  It was very frustrating and tedious to watch.  I was ready to give up on it.  My wife was interested, so we kept it going.  This just goes to show that the film undoubtedly appeals more to the female audience.  Once we got past the lovey dovey scene where they lose the car key (which was total crap by the way), the film actually started to pick up momentum.  It flowed better, and it got away from the brutal silliness that plagued the first half.

Still, it was never able to settle into its sweet spot.  It always felt haphazard.  There were all these under-developed subplots that didn't seem to add to the overall story.  The love interest was used to illustrate her independence and ability to stand up for herself.  It did that in a very insincere on-the-nose sort of way.  I didn't feel they created a believable relationship in the first place, so when there was conflict it didn't carry any weight.  The subplot with the best friend getting arrested also felt very shoe-horned in there. All of the pieces to this movie just didn't seem to fit together to for a cohesive complete picture.  It tried to make points about strength and individuality but did it in an awkward and unsubtle way.

 It is a movie about roller derby, so it is obviously going to have footage of people on skates going around the little circle.  They didn't really do a great job of showing us that action and helping us to understand what was going on.  The way it was all cut together made it hard to follow, and the lame dialog made it hard to care about it. After watching the film it still wasn't clear to me how points were scored, or how strategy was employed to score said points. They even straight-up explained it in the movie, and I still wasn't sure.  This would be a non-issue if I watched more roller derby.  Seeing as it is a pretty obscure sport, I would guess others shared in my confusion about those sequences.

I haven't ever been a fan of Drew Barrymore's acting, and she does a pretty horrible job in this one too in that respect.  I think this is her first time directing, and that didn't seem to work out very well either.  I would totally avoid Whip It if I were you.

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