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Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Film Buff: Whipped

So, I know this may come across as somehow un-patriotic as she appears to be America's sweetheart, but I really must confess: I'm not a fan of Drew Barrymore.
Though she does seem like a very nice person.
I understand that she's lived quite a life. I've caught most of the Cliff's Notes version of her autobiography Little Girl Lost, and I acknowledge and applaud her difficult navigation from troubled child star to successful Hollywood actress.
Still, though: just not a fan. She's in a few of my "guilty pleasure" movies: The Wedding Singer, Charlie's Angels, 50 First Dates, (none of them particularly stellar movies anyway) but it always feels to me like she's trying awfully hard, and it pulls me out of the film a little.
Dangerously cute.
Now, she has definitely made some excellent career choices for herself in recent years (flashing David Letterman not withstanding. . . or included, maybe) and she has been a producer or executive producer on many high-grossing films like the Charlie's Angels franchise, Donnie Darko, and Never Been Kissed.
So when I saw that Drew had stepped into the director's chair for Whip It (2009): the roller derby/coming-of-age film starring Ellen Page (of whom I most definitely am a fan) I wasn't sure what to expect.
Ari Graynor. We like Ari.
The line-up was definitely favorable: Ellen Page, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, & Alia Shawkat, so I was definitely going to see the film at some point, but was I going to enjoy it or feel that these talented actresses were wasted in a mediocre film? The rest of the line-up was very potentially hit-or-miss for me: Daniel Stern, Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, the other Wilson brother (Andrew).
Well, I won't keep you in suspense any longer, piglets:
I loved it.
All of the aforementioned players brought their A-game, the story is funny and touching, and just when it starts to feel formulaic, a new wrinkle is added. I was also pleased to see one of my new favorite actresses on the rise, Ari Graynor, tearing up the boards as Eva Destruction. Whip It is a very good movie. I must give props to Miss Barrymore on a well-crafted film.
In fact, the only performance I didn't really care for was the role of Smashley Simpson played by . . . Drew Barrymore.
Well, can't win 'em all.

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