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This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.

"Joy Ride is laugh-out-loud funny, unapologetically crude, and emotionally rich."
Joy Ride

Four friends on a road trip that’s meant to be a business trip. What could possibly go wrong? A lot actually as Joy Ride - by writer turned writer/director Adele Lim of Crazy Rich Asians fame - so hilariously exemplifies.

Audrey (Ashley Park), who was adopted by her American parents when she was younger, is set to go to China to close a business deal that will see her get the promotion she’s been vying for. She decides to take along her childhood best friend Lolo (Sherry Cola) to be her translator. Plans are derailed when Lolo invites her cousin Deadeye (Sabrina Wu) and Audrey organises to meet with her former college bestie Kat (Stephanie Hsu)

Joy Ride

Joy Ride starts with a scene in a playground where Audrey and Lolo meet for the first time as children. A boy comes up to Audrey and starts to verbally abuse her and Lolo, having none of it, punches the boy who then falls back and gets kicked by someone on the swings right into the air. This scene really sets the tone for the rest of the movie as Joy Ride is outrageously funny. It pushes the envelope on what it can get away with, riding as close to the bone as it possibly can. What’s even better is that it never falls flat. There is seldom a lull from the jokes in Joy Ride but when there is it’s replaced with genuinely affecting moments centered around self-discovery and friendship.

Adele Lim has always had a knack for writing endearing and funny, but complex under the surface characters in her other films such as Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last the Dragon, Joy Ride is no different. Whether it’s Deadeye who is socially awkward but affectionate, Lolo who is sex-positive and has unwavering support for her friends, Kat who is living her dream but not quite living her truth, or Audrey who is trying to find where she fits into the world. There’s depth to all of them that make them an instantly likable group of characters that you’ll just be glad to be along with them for the ride.

Joy Ride

The cast are all on top form and they all have a chemistry that expresses the history they all share. However Sabrina Wu ends up being the scene stealer in their feature film acting debut. They have a shy exterior but as the film goes on Deadeye’s mask drops and they have some of Joy Ride’s funniest moments. Including a shot that visually explains why they’re called Deadeye which is hysterical.

Joy Ride is laugh-out-loud funny, unapologetically crude, and emotionally rich. Once you’ve spent ninety minutes in the company of Audrey, Lolo, Kat, and Deadeye you’ll instantly want to spend ninety more.


Joy Ride rating


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