Whip It (2009)

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Released 18-Feb-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 106:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Drew Barrymore

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sarah Habel
Shannon Eagen
Edward Austin Austin
Mary Callaghan Lynch
Ellen Page
Alia Shawkat
Marcia Gay Harden
Case ?
RPI ? Music The Section Quartet

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Drew Barrymore created a career out of playing lovable, goofy but ultimately resilient characters. So it is no surprise that her directorial debut, Whip It, features a lead role with all those qualities. Though Barrymore plays a role in her own film it is Juno's Ellen Page who gets the lead, the "Drew Barrymore" role.

Whip It is an amiable, sometimes exciting comedy-with-drama about a young girl becoming a roller derby star. Based on the young adult novel of the same name, Whip It hits all the right notes making it perfect sleepover material for its target audience, teen girls.

Bliss Cavendar, played by the always watchable Page, is a small town high school girl without a lot of prospects. She works at the local eatery, the charmingly named Oink Joint, with her best friend Pash (Allie Shawkat), sometimes incurring the condescension of the cool girls and boys from school. Her home life is OK but her father Daniel Stern is laid back to the point of indifference and her former beauty queen mother (Marcia Gay Harden) has high aspirations for the disinterested Bliss to follow in her footsteps. Out of respect, or lack of willpower, Bliss allows her mother to enter her into pageants.

A chance meeting with the girls from an Austin, Texas roller derby team takes Bliss and Pash to a demonstration game. Bliss is drawn to Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig) who suggests that she try out for the team. Telling her parents that she is doing extra study she straps on her skates and performs extremely well for coach Razor (Andrew Wilson).

The rest of the plot unfolds in an enjoyable but unsurprising way. The underage Bliss becomes a member of the team, a substitute for whenever Smashlee Simpson (Barrymore) is injured in the rough and tumble. Her speed around the track (diminutive Page seems no match for the bruisers) is a bonus and Bliss helps the team, the Hurl Guides, storm up the ladder. But will speed be enough to see her through the treacherous straits sharked by opponent Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis) who never lets sport get in the way of a good hip and shoulder!

Love comes in the form of a boy (musician/actor Landon Pigg) but is he all he seems? Conflict comes when the championship game, wouldn't you know it, is on the same night as the Miss Bluebell Pageant. Sooner or later the parents will find out!

Whip It is a lot of fun and is suitable for sleepovers from about 13 onwards. There is some necking and a few swear words but the film contains nothing shocking. Barrymore directs with a punk spirit and the roller derby scenes are suitably frenetic. Although the rules get an explanation I still found it a bit hard to follow. It doesn't help that in the grass roots league the girls all train together. As someone who was around for the last roller derby insurgence and enjoyed Racquel Welsh in Kansas City Bombers, the return to trackside is a charm.

The need for a love story perhaps results in a balancing act between the romance and the story of the relationship (platonic) between the girls and their coach, resulting in both plot lines being somewhat the loser. But these are minor quibbles in an enjoyable ride.

All in all a great little film for a Friday night with the kids.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


Whip It was shot on 35mm film and projected cinematically at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.

That ratio has been preserved for the DVD release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

The world of Bodeen, Texas is intended to be drab and the transfer reflects the conscious cinematic choices to have a less than glossy finish to the film. It is a little bit gritty with a matt colour scheme from the costumes of the racers down to the dull pink of the pink on top of the Oink Joint.

Colours are pretty accurate. Flesh tones are precise.

The transfer is reasonably sharp although the blacks tend to be a little indistinct.

There are no technical problems with the transfer and only the lightest dusting of grain. There are no artefacts or blemishes on the print.

Compression is no issue.

There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired and also a descriptive audio track. Both are accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


Whip It contains two prime soundtracks - both Dolby Digital - one of which is 5.1 running at 448 Kb/s and the other 2.0 running at 192 Kb/s.

Both are accurate however, not surprisingly, the 5.1 track is the more impressive.

In both, however, the dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Finally, there is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio track.

There are no technical problems with the soundtrack. Audio sync is fine.

Drew Barrymore with her music supervisor has put together a great indie soundtrack for the film. There is nothing like The Ramones to get fists pumping, unless it is GOTYE or Peaches. Fans of Har Mar Superstar will not only appreciate a track from him but also his cameo appearance as a rival coach. Musician Landon Pigg also supplies a song.

Other music is provided by The Section Quartet.

The track features a good surround presence, particularly during the exciting derby scenes and the subwoofer is used subtly but effectively throughout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Whip It contains only one extra.

Deleted Scenes

A variety of deleted scenes are on offer. Whilst enjoyable they don't really advance the film and it is easy to see why they were omitted. Perhaps the only really interesting scene involves Bliss trying to lure back the coach after he quits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

  Whip It is available in identical form in other Regions. It has been released in Region A on Blu-ray with only two brief additional extras.


Whip It is a film that performed poorly at the Box Office, perhaps because audiences couldn't work out whether it was a sports movie or something else. In fact it is about teenage girl empowerment and will find its most receptive audience amongst that group, although parents will find something to enjoy in its somewhat predictable story but adorable characters.

The DVD transfer will disappoint no-one but the extras could have been fuller.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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