This was a fun two-hour escape from reality. A nice effort from Drew Barrymore, in her directorial debut. Unlike Jennifer Aniston, my favorite movie punching bag, she does have some skills as a director, and in her limited role in this movie. If you want to see her act, there are quite a few other flicks to see.
This picture is based on the novel "Derby Dolls," by a former Los Angeles roller derby queen. It is a cross between a coming of age story and some of the "mockumentaries" that are being released these days. The affable Ellen Page, continues to show that "Juno" was not a one-trick pony and delivers another solid performance as a 17-year old girl struggling with her mom's desire to relive her own childhood by enrolling her daughters in various local beauty pageants.
Her character Bliss Cavender, rebels against her parents' lifestyle
which seems to be rooted in the 1950's small town Texas. Instead, she
and her best friend discover the local semi-pro roller derby league. To
no one's surprise, her friend challenges her, and she makes the worst
team in the league. Bliss has to hide this fact from her parents who
are sure to disapprove. She re-invents herself as "Babe Ruthless," as
again surprise, leads her team in a climb up the standings to try and
make the championship.
One of the best parts of this film are the team names, such as the "Hurl
Scouts" and the "Fight Attendants," as well as the names of the
competitors - "Iron Maven," "Smashley Simpson," and "Eva Destruction." These are almost as good as porn names.
Bliss also has an encounter with a derby fan/local up and coming rock
star which plays a significant part in the movie. It does have some
pleasant surprises, so by no means is it formulaic.
Unfortunately, the regular DVD version I saw had little in the way of
special features. I would loved to have seen a "making of" feature on
this one, especially to learn about the training for the derby scenes.
Otherwise it would have rated higher. So I rate it a run scoring double
- two and a half stars. Rent it, don't buy it. But if you do want it
for the collection, see the link below, and support your local blogger.