Joy Ride (2023) Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

The script is smart even as it resorts to toilet humor and Lim does a great job setting the scenes.

Joy Ride (2023) Review
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The very first comedic movie was called L'Arroseur Arrosé.  It was directed and produced by film pioneer Louis Lumière in 1895 and was a minute long.  Since then there have been hundreds (if not thousands) of comedy films released and there are numerous sub-genres housed under the comedy movie umbrella.  There are romantic comedies, musical comedies, and slapstick comedies, to name a few but two of the more popular types of comedy films in more recent times are bathroom and sex comedies.  

Among some of the more successful ones are The Hangover trilogy, Wedding Crashers, The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, etc., and, until recently, were mostly starring male leads.  However, that has radically changed in the last 10-12 years and this summer Lionsgate offers another entry into "raunchy" humor movies with Adele Lim's (Crazy Rich Asians) directorial debut, Joy Ride.  Starring Ashley Park (Emily in Paris), Stephanie Hsu (Everything, Everywhere, All At Once), Sherry Cola (Good Trouble), and newcomer Sabrina Wu, it hilariously offers a glimpse into four individuals trying to find themselves while running through Asia.

Audrey (Park) and Lolo (Cola) have been friends since they were in grade school, having been the only two Asians in their town.  As adults, Audrey is the responsible one and has a career as a lawyer in a high-profile law firm.  Lola, conversely, lives in Audrey's guest house and is an artist focusing mostly on sexually themed artwork.  When Audrey needs to go to Asia to woo a client, Lolo goes with her as her translator.  Lolo's cousin, Deadeye (Wu) tags along to meet her friends from the internet, and once in Asia, Audrey meets up with her college roommate Kat (Hsu), an actress on a popular television show.  

From the start, things go haywire and Audrey, thanks to Lolo, finds herself searching for her birth mother to win over the client, while Kat loses her fiancé due to her lies about her sexual history.  They end up getting robbed on a train by an American drug dealer, stranded by Lolo's friend and his basketball team and go viral on the internet for all the wrong reasons.  The trip ends with the four of them no longer speaking to one another.

With a screenplay written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao (Family Guy), based on a story by Lim, Joy Ride is not for the faint of heart or those that are easily offended.  From Lolo's art to Kat's strategically placed tattoo and Audrey's ménage à trois, there is a heavy emphasis on sex throughout the movie.  The language also tends to be colorful with curse words flying left and right.  However, if you are able to get passed all of that, or better yet, enjoy it and laugh out loud, you will find a funny story of four people trying to figure out their own identities.  

Park, Hsu, Wu, and Cola have great chemistry making the friendship bond they have appear real.  The script is smart even as it resorts to toilet humor and Lim does a great job setting the scenes.  With a different group of actors, writers, and/or director, the film probably wouldn't have come out as well as it did.

If you loved 2017's Girl Trip, you will definitely enjoy Joy Ride and if you are looking to escape a few hours of reality and the summer heat, seeing this film is a great way to do it.  It is also a perfect suggestion for a girls' night out but, don't be fooled, it has enough vulgarity for guys as well.

This is one movie that is worth the "Ride".

Grade: A

Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 94 minutes
Distributed By: Lionsgate

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For more information about Joy Ride visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Joy Ride images are courtesy of Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.


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