Just look at the cast: Oscar nominee Ellen Page, the incomparable Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Arrested Development alum Alia Shawkat, SNL Comedienne Extraordinaire Kirsten Wiig, and Zoe Bell who kicked ass in the underrated Tarantino classic "Death Proof".I love all these people and would be first in line to see any of their work,and I have no doubt the film aims to attract first and foremost freaks like me.
And so it has all kinds of great things you'd normally expect to find in an indie movie. A couple swimming underwater in a weird,serene way.The mention of some obscure 80s Christian rock-metal band.A pinball machine.KOL's 'Knocked Up' playing over the opening credits (and you KNOW how much I love that song).A geeky,hedious guy in the Romeo role who happens to be a band singer,tours in a small van and is constantly smiling with wayward teeth like a recession time poster-child. Jimmy Fallon. It wants to be a movie about an underdog finding her strength in a little-known sport she plays with a bunch of girl-power,be-yourself type strong personalities,one of which is actually named Smashlee Simpson.
On paper,everything looks amazing.But in execution,things falls out of context and out of sync with the big picture.The sport is impatiently explained in 10 seconds,the film shoots off and gains no momentum before attempting climax.I did get a few laughs here and there but felt that the best lines weren't given time (like,they were just spoken into the wind or in passing) i.e "I'm part of a cult", or "We deserve better villains".
I do like Juliette Lewis,and thought she was truly badass here.And I like the forward-looking,open ending.As an actor,Drew Barrymore is extremely easy to love and she can make something so tepid like 50 First Dates a good flick.As a director though,she was more preoccupied with what she wanted the film to be,rather than the actual film itself.As a result it definitely zoomed past characterization and proper storytelling completely,but above all else,I think Whip It! is defined most by being a MONUMENTAL waste of talented actors.