Jared Moshe explores the classic science fiction trope in his latest film, Aporia from Well Go USA. Since losing her husband Mal (Edi Gathegi) in a drunk-driving incident, Sophie (Judy Greer) has struggled to manage crippling grief, a full-time job, and the demands of parenting her devastated teenage daughter (Faithe Herman).
Laugh out loud moments and heart make Joy Ride a winner
Following the highly enjoyable, The Blackening R-rated comedies continue to make a welcome return to cinemas in Joy Ride from Lionsgate Films. Adele Lim directs the film and writes the screenplay with Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao.
Overachiever Audrey (Ashley Park) has the task of seeing a new client for her law firm in China. Audrey was adopted as an infant and doesn’t know much about her heritage. She barely speaks Chinese, which sets up the perfect window for Lolo (Sherry Cola), her irreverent childhood best friend who is also a hot mess, to tag along and serve as a translator.
Also along for the ride are Kat (Stephanie Hsu), Audrey’s college friend turned Chinese soap star, and Deadeye (Sabrina Wu), Lolo’s eccentric cousin. Naturally, the trip goes sideways, leading to a no-holds-barred, epic experience becoming a journey of bonding, friendship, belonging, and wild debauchery that reveals the universal truth of what it means to know and love who you are.
Joy Ride appears similar to Girls Trip but with four Asian-American women and the group dynamics of Bridesmaids. The script sets up a workable story where Audrey’s Chinese contact thinks it’s important to know where you come from. Audrey decides to look for her biological mother in China to make a good impression at a party for the contact’s mother.
Naturally, a series of comedic hijinks ensure as the quadrant of friends race to the film’s finish line. All of the ladies in the movie get a chance to shine. Ashley Park is our lead, so she’s the butt of some jokes, but it works. Fresh off her Oscar Nomination, Stephanie Hsu effortlessly taps into a sex-positive character trying to practice celibacy for her fiancé. At the same time, Sherry Cola and Sabrina Wu keep the one-liners coming.
One of the most surprising things about Joy Ride is the film tactfully the racism within the Asian community and sheds light on Audrey’s arduous journey of being an Asian individual raised in a family dominated by whites.
Joy Ride fearlessly shocks with its gross-out gags, but what truly surprises is the successful blending of its raunchy humor with genuine heart, all thanks to the cast’s authentic performances.
Final Grade: B+
Joy Ride is in theaters now.
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