Director: Drew Barrymore
Running Time: 107 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release Date: 7th April 2010
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 16th April 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I have been wanting to see this one for a while, I was interested to see just how Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut would turn out. Not too bad is the answer, a little rough around the edges, but not a bad first effort all in all. It’s entertaining, very funny, in places, and I found it a laudable effort. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts (summary haters, and those that don’t wish to know about the plot, please lace up those skates while I write the next paragraph).
Bliss Cavendar is a teenage girl living in Bodeen, a small town in Texas. Her mother, Brooke, encourages her to take part in beauty pageants, but you can tell her heart isn’t really in it. She works at a diner with her friend Pash and one night they decide to go out to a Roller Derby in Austin. They discover the team are having try-outs and so Bliss decides to give it a go. She’s under age and so tells them that she’s 21. At first she’s not very good, but with practice she gets better. Of course she has to lie to her parents about where she’s going and what she’s doing. All the players have pseudonyms and Bliss chooses ‘Babe Ruthless’ as her moniker. She eventually gets good enough to take part in a match and, after a baptism of fire, she soon finds her feet. Their coach, Razor, discovers that Bliss is a very good player; she’s small, agile and can score them lots of points… If only he could get them to use his playbook! Eventually it comes down to the play-off game and Bliss must face her nemesis, Iron Maven. Add to this the turmoil at home and a love interest, a boy from a band, Oliver, (of course there’s got to be a love story) and that’s a potted version of the film. No more, or the Spoiler Police will be after me.
I really enjoyed this one, yes, it’s a bit rough around the edges, but you can see they had a lot of fun making it. The performances are all very good, especially Ellen Page as Bliss and Marcia Gay Harden as her mother Brooke Cavendar, both were very good. Both Kristen Wiig as Maggie Mayhem and Drew Barrymore as Smashley Simpson did a good job as Bliss’s teammates. Also Juliette Lewis put in a good shift as Iron Maven. Honourable mentions go to Alia Shawkat as Pash, Jimmy Fallon as 'Hot Tub' Johnny Rocket, Andrew Wilson as Razor and Landon Pigg (great name!) as Oliver.
Credit goes to all the stunt people, this must have been a tough one to pull off, but they did a very good job. I also enjoyed the soundtrack, some good tracks are used, mostly indie stuff, but if you include ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’ by The Ramones then you’re always going to get my vote! It’s not prefect, as I’ve already mentioned, but I did find it pretty entertaining, and so… Recommended.
My Score: 7.9/10