Built upon a mountain of clichÃ (C)s, the screenplay wallows in artificiality and, although some of the sports action sequences are well choreographed and have a ring of authenticity, nearly every scene away from the arena reeks of contrivance.
There's an extended sequence of underwater kissing that makes it seem that both Page and Pigg are mer-people. Seriously, they never come up for air as they make out in about 15 different positions. It's only the audience that's drowning.
To date, as an actress and producer, Barrymore has made some excellent choices and has always seemed to have a gut instinct for what works. Until now. The saving grace of the film is the disarmingly appealing Ellen Page who escapes unscathed.
Whip It suggests what might have happened if Juno had gone to a high school as poky as Napoleon Dynamite's and decided that although her mother wanted her to be a beauty queen like Little Miss Sunshine, she'd rather just strap on roller skates.