JOYRIDE, a boring direct-to-video release about some teens who unwittingly steal a hitwoman's car containing a corpse in the trunk, can't decide if it wants to be a slacker character study or a neo-noir crime thriller, coming up woefully short in both departments.
While working as a clerk at his father's cheap motel, J.T. (Tobey Maguire) befriends an aspiring model named Tanya (Amy Hathaway) who's staying there. Tanya is accompanied by her "businessman" father (Adam West), who's using her in a blackmail scheme in which he procures "investors" for her to
seduce and then takes compromising pictures of them. After a night of skinny dipping with Tanya and his friend James (Wilson Cruz), J.T. decides to "borrow" the car of a mysterious woman named Smith (Christina Naify) who's just checked in. The trio are unaware that Smith is a professional assassin
whose latest victim is the trunk of her car.
After cruising around and partying, they discover the corpse and dump it into a lake, but on the way home get into a fight with a local redneck named Joey (Judson Mills) who smashes the car's headlights. J.T. hides the car in an abandoned warehouse and goes back to the hotel, but Joey files a
police complaint that J.T. beat him up, and the next day, J.T., James, and Tanya are interrogated by a police detective (Benicio Del Toro). Smith discovers that the three teens stole her car and tells them that she'll kill them if they don't return it. After they get it, Smith ties up J.T. and
James and forces Tanya to shoot them, but Tanya purposely misses and the boys fake their deaths. Smith drives away with Tanya and says that she knows Tanya didn't shoot the boys, but invites her to be her new partner anyway.
Slowly paced, poorly written and wildly overacted, JOYRIDE doesn't even offer the requisite doses of sex and violence which would make it a decent video rental on a slow winter night. Instead, it serves up 90 minutes of implausible plotting as three annoying characters continually do stupid things
while spouting idiotic slacker dialogue like "I need some beauty in my life," and "Shouldn't we kiss or something?" As Tanya, Amy Hathaway is cute in a trashy way, but Tobey Maguire is thoroughly unlikable as the mopey J.T. About the only amusement the film has to offer is Adam West's incomparably
hammy performance as Tanya's sleazy pimp-father, and a priceless moment of high-camp provided by James Karen as a degenerate "client" of Tanya's who gets rough and starts spanking her while screaming "You're about to meet Mr. Willy." What the talented Benicio Del Toro is doing here is anybody's
guess, although he does attempt to hide behind sunglasses and red hair and is constantly laughing to himself (no doubt thinking about what he's going to do to his agent). Otherwise, it's the usual sophomoric medley of pseudo-flashy technique (music-video style camerawork and editing, including
excessive slow-mo and dissolves to different angles of the same shot), and some hilariously pretentious touches, such as the hitwoman meditating in her room before a job. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1997
- Rating: R
- Review: JOYRIDE, a boring direct-to-video release about some teens who unwittingly steal a hitwoman's car containing a corpse in the trunk, can't decide if it wants to be a slacker character study or a neo-noir crime thriller, coming up woefully short in both depa… (more)