Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut takes a serio-comic look at teen angst girl style.
Juno’s Ellen Page, who is one of the better teen actresses, is Bliss — a kid stuck in a dinky Texas town and whose life is anything but. Her mom wants her to be a beauty queen and Bliss, who is not even close to bathing suit modeling material or up to politically correct speeches, isn’t remotely interested.
Doing beauty pageants is a duty. So is going along with her not-so-nice domineering mom, done nicely by Marcia Gay Harden. Her dutiful Dad is played by Home Alone alum Daniel Stern.
On a whim, Bliss tries out for a woman’s roller derby team and finds it is more her thing than anything she’s ever done.
Soon, she’s the hottest of the league’s hots. Keeping her double-life a secret from you-know-who comes next. Then, her first love. Mom and Dad eventually finds out, blah, blah, blah.
This is total angst with a mild comic twist. Mom wants you to be her. You want to be you. No surprises.
With lesser talent, the movie flops. Barrymore, however, does a good job of casting, and Shauna Cross’ screenplay — based on her book — is decent. The roller derby team features Barrymore as a total ditz and talented actresses Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig and others.
As always, Harden is outstanding and it’s a treat to see Stern — who now does more narration than acting — on the screen again. Too bad the role doesn’t have much meat.
Best of the bunch is Alia Shawkat, formerly of TV’s Arrested Development as Bliss’ best friend.
Though it’s a ball bearing or two shy of relating to guys, Barrymore’s flick will hit the target audience.
Her point: it’s tough to be a teenage girl.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens Friday, Oct. 2 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.