Small town indie girl Bliss, who does what her mother tells her to do, goes out to watch roller derby and falls in love with it. She tries out, makes the team, comes of age and learns those lessons. Yep nothing really original here, typical story with a very cool edge with the roller derby and a cool cast of characters with the team. This is the directorial debut of an actress I really adore with Drew Barrymoore and I had quite high expectations and the reviews were all fairly positive. I wasn’t disappointed by this film but it didn’t entirely click with me and I just felt it was missing something to make it great. It is however an above average teenage coming of age film and it has charm, which in turn is thanks to a great and solid performance from the reliable Ellen Page.
Ellen Page is quite perfect as Bliss, she portrays all the right notes with this character and she has a great chemistry with Marica Gay Harden who plays her mother as well as Daniel Stern who plays her father. The chemistry she has with Alia Shawkat as her best friend Pash is spot on, and their friendship is believable all the way through. The roller derby team are all a very cool cast of characters and she really meshed well with them all. They all really worked and the roller derby stuff is a highlight of the film, these scenes are great to watch and very entertaining as well. I just adored Zoe Bell as ‘Bloody Holly’ there is just something about her, I want to see more of her. Kristen Wig as ‘Maggie Mayhem’ was another good standout, I really liked her and what she brought to the table. Juliet Lewis as the rival ‘Iron Maven’ was alright, her character was just too clichéd and she tried to make it different but it didn’t entirely get there. Andrew Wilson as ‘Razor’ their coach was quite entertaining and he is like the forgotten Wilson brother. Jimmy Fallon annoyed me to tears, why does this guy work? Oh yeah he is friends with Drew, note to Drew, get better friends!
I felt the pacing of this film was a little off and it dragged at times, it could have been much tighter and made a little more exciting. There were scenes that could have easily been cut out, and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the story. Drew in her debut as director tried really hard, but at times it fell a little flat. Her character in this I just found really annoying and honestly could have done without. Her on screen presence was unfortunately one of the weaker parts of the film and either they could gone without the character or she could have stayed behind the camera. The script is a strong point and Shauna Cross did a really good job, there is some great dialogue around the place and some nice scenes. The message of the film is clear and it is a good one, the themes found within the film I could relate to. I think most girls/women will find something to relate to with it, it has a certain charm about it. I guess I maybe expected a little bit more from this, but it is worth a watch if only for Ellen Page. It just missed a mark with me on the whole, perhaps this lady expected a bit much from it, I am not sure.