Whip It, the roller derby flick that marks Drew Barrymore's directorial debut and stars Ellen Page, looks like fun. It also looks very familiar. We broke down the trailer, frame by frame, to find out why.
The story begins, like all of these stories begin, with a teenaged outcast. How do we know she is an outcast? When we get our first glimpse of her, she's at some kind of girl society pageant and her hair is blue. (See: Amber Tamblyn in Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants)
And her mom is pissed.
Hence: Lying on bed =Teen angst. (See: Welcome To the Dollhouse, Rebel Without A Cause, Beetlejuice, Pretty In Pink)
Here's another cue the protagonist is "different": She drives a car unlike any of the other cars at her school. (See: Pretty In Pink, 10 Things I Hate About You; Corey Haim and Corey Feldman's seminal work License To Drive.)
Our heroine has a shitty job (See: Hilary Duff in A Cinderella Story; Patrick Dempsey in Loverboy, Judge Reinhold in Fast Times At Ridgemont High) and glasses (See: She's All That) reinforcing her "outcast" status.
Also, she has to wait on the cool kids. (See: Above)
But then! Some new, interesting characters — outside of the comfort zone of the heroine - arrive in town. In this case: Roller derby ladies. (If this were, say, Lost Boys, then you'd swap in vampires. In a movie like Take The Lead, the "outside the comfort zone" character would be dance teacher Antonio Banderas; in Save The Last Dance, it's Julia Stiles meeting Sean Patrick Thomas. In The Karate Kid, the "character" is Mr. Miyagi.)
And the outsider is intrigued.
The outcast checks out what the roller derby has to offer…
And decides that it is awesome.
(Also, in this case, the awesome is compounded by Kristen Wiig's involvement.)
So. The outcast pulls out her skates. (Puts on her dance shoes. Whatever.)
And, at first, she sucks.
But she's determined.
Cue the practice montages. (See: Save The Last Dance, Bend It Like Beckham, Blue Crush, Bring It On, Teen Wolf etc.)
The parents: Clueless. They think she's working late/studying/making nice new friends. (See: Bend It Like Beckham.)
But actually, she's kicking ass — she's discovered a new passion!
Also, she's no longer an outcast, but part of a group.
The parents find out and are livid. (In the worst-case scenario, things go very awry; see: Dead Poets Society.)
But why should our heroine care? She's got her own family now.
Which is not to say I won't be first in line to see Whip It — teen angst and roller derby are a couple of my favorite things.
Whip It Trailer [You Tube]
The Only True Currency Girls Have in this Bakrupt World is Ellen Page [Gawker]