Joy Ride (2001) — Great first part, abysmal back half

“We’re fine now that we’re… not murdered.”

DnaError’s rating: The Voice from Scream gets a job

DnaError’s review: Before the review starts, can we address the problem of dirty theaters? Maybe it’s just me, but I do not like getting a butt-full of nacho cheese when I sit down. At the very least it should be warm.

Okay, on to the movie. Joy Ride is actually two movies in one, a movie and its sequel. The first movie takes about 60 min of the running time. Clever, silly, tense, has a blonde chick and a bumper crop of good one-liners, kind of like a Buffy episode. The sequel, which I have named Joy Ride 2: Ride Harder Bugaloo, takes up the rest of the running length. Dull, plodding, and with the kind of bizzaro-zone ending thats becoming common. The entire movie is almost a ying-yang of completion, everything good in the first half becomes bad in the second. Clever becomes annoying, style goes to excess, and silly drops to implausibility.

The scanty cast is equally split. Paul Walker hails from the school of model-acting, where you stare into the camera and look puckered. Leelee Sobieski has the distinction of having a silly name in real life and in the movie and wining the “Most Like Jennifer Connelly” Award. The only person really acting in the movie is Steve Zhan, who plays the wisecracking Fueller. Normally the term “wisecracking” would send me into paroxysms of pain. However he did deliver his one-liners and mordant humor with just the right zing. Normally “hilarious” is not a good term for describing a horror movie, but Zhan does make the combo work. Good for him.

But it’s the extra 40 minutes that really bugs the hell out of me. There is NO NEED to continue the movie, it’s over, stick a fork in it, the story has ended. The last 40 minutes are the appendix of the movie, just sitting there collecting infection. So go see Joy Ride — but leave after the story ends. It happens just as the blonde chick appears. You see her ride up in that kicky little silver car, leave the theater with happy memories and a non-nachoed butt.

Didja notice?

  • All hotels are surrounded by gigantic heat lamps at all times.
  • That I didn’t mention Steven Spielberg’s “Duel” in the entire review?
  • Lewis sounds nothing like a girl, at all?
  • Shown in the trailers and TV spots, but not in the movie, is a quick scene where Lewis and Fuller run out of a diner, naked.

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