This is the story of a small-town girl who makes it in the competitive sport roller-derby. Ellen Page plays the lead character of Bliss. Her mother Brooke (played by Marcia Gay Harden) is a conservative type that thinks the most important thing in life is for her daughter to win beauty pageants. At a beauty pageant, Bliss is in the makeup room trying, with the help of her friend Pash (played by Alia Shawkat), to get bright blue color out of her hair. They are not successful. Brooke waits in the audience. When Bliss comes on stage, Brooke is horrified. Brooke is furious with her daughter and immediately takes her to the hair stylist to get the blue color out of her hair.
Bliss and Pash work together at the local barbeque restaurant. They hate the small town of Bodeen, Texas where they live and everything about it. The girl that won the beauty pageant, Corbi (played by Sarah Habel), comes into the restaurant with Colby (played by Douglas Minckiewicz), who is her boyfriend. Colby eats a gigantic sandwich called a "Squealer" because it is free, if one can eat it all in three minutes. Bliss has to be nice to them because she is their server.
Brooke takes Bliss and her younger sister Shania (played by Eulala Scheel) to Austin for shopping. Brooke is so naive she does not recognize bongs in a head shop, thinking they are pretty flower vases. Bliss sees two women handing out flyers for roller-derby. Bliss takes a flyer. She shows it to Pash. The event is the next night. They are allowed to go to Austin because they tell their parents they are going to a football game, but they go to the roller-derby event instead.
The really like the game. The "Hurl Scouts" lose to the undefeated "Holy Rollers." Afterwards, they talk to some of the women on the Hurl Scouts team. They invite them to try out for the team the next week, as long as they are 21 years old. Bliss lies and tells them she is 22.
After Bliss goes back home, she practices in her Barbie brand roller skates. At the try-outs, she meets all the other women on the team, and learns how brutal the sport really is when they shove her around. She gets a pair of real roller-skates. After that, there is no stopping her. She is faster than the others and makes the team. She is knocked down a lot. The coach, a guy named Razor (played by Andrew Wilson), tells her to be more aggressive. In her first match, they introduce Bliss as "Babe Ruthless." She is not that big or strong but she is quick. They make the "whip it" maneuver throwing her forward to get four points. Even they lose the game, they are happy that Bliss is on the team and admire her determination. The Hurl Scouts have never won a match but, at least they scored some good points. They go to a party after the game. Bliss meets a guy named Oliver (played by Landon Pigg) that she likes, who is in a band. They become lovers and she loses her virginity to him.
The Hurl Scouts start to take the game more seriously and finally win their first game. This puts them on the path to improvement and with more wins, they finally have a chance at the league championship. The only problem is that the night of the championship is the same night as the "Blue Bonnet Beauty Pageant" where Brooke has entered Bliss. Bliss becomes the rookie-of-the-year in roller-derby. Her parents find out she has been lying to them and that she is in the sport. They fight with Bliss. She moves out of the house to stay with a roller-derby teammate. A jealous roller-derby member finds out Bliss is only 17 and forces Bliss to tell her team. This means Bliss will not be able to help them in the championship game unless her parents give her written permission, which is unlikely since they have been fighting. Oliver goes away on tour and she sees him in photos on the Internet with another girl wearing the t-shirt she gave him.
Bliss returns home completely defeated, reconciles with her mother, and agrees to be in the beauty pageant. Her father Earl (played by Daniel Stern) goes on the Internet, sees how popular and how good Bliss is in the roller-derby by watching some videos of the matches. He demands his wife let Bliss out of the beauty contest so she can participate in the roller-derby championship. He convinces his wife by saying all they really want is their daughter to be happy. Brooke breaks down and agrees. They give Bliss permission to be in the roller-derby, and even come to watch the final game. The Hurl Scouts do not win but they come very close. They earn the respect of all for how much better they have become. However, what makes Bliss the most happy is her mother came to see the match. Earl is so proud when he goes home he puts a poster of Bliss in the front yard.
Best part of story, including ending:
This movie is a fun inside look at a crazy sport.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when the ruthless leader from the opposing Holy Rollers team genuinely congratulates Bliss after the game because Bliss has truly found something she is good at, and that she loves.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Bliss was willing to give up roller-derby if that was necessary so she could have a decent relationship with her mom. It was a nice gesture, but it is good Bliss gets to do the roller-derby instead.