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He Said, She Said Review Site

Joy Ride

What He said:

He

It’s probably because I’ve been seeing a lot of marketing for the next F&F movie, but Paul Walker has been in the back of my mind lately. I’m not the biggest fan of the franchise, though I do like some of the earlier movies. Regardless, the release of the latest chapter in the series made me think of his death; and career leading up to that tragedy.  

Lewis Thomas (Paul Walker) has recently finished his first year of college and is about to head home for summer break. His childhood friend Venna (Leelee Sobieski) asks him for a ride home. She attends another school that is between where Lewis goes and their hometown. Since he will be passing through Colorado anyway, and he has the hots for her, he agrees to pick her up.

Joy Ride

Before he leaves though, his mother calls in a favor. His older brother Fuller has gotten himself into trouble; which is a regular occurrence. He was arrested for a bar fight in a small town and was recently released. She asks Lewis to pick him up and give him a ride to wherever it is he’s living now (he’s estranged from the family). Lewis is not happy about this, but reluctantly agrees. 

Lewis picks up Fuller (Steve Zahn) and tells him he is on his way home, which does not excite Fuller, but he decides to go along for the ride when Lewis reveals his fan to pick up Venna. Fuller is a bit of a sleazebag and the mere mention of a girl gets him excited; especially when she sees Venna has grown up. He also wants to razz his brother, because he knows that he likes her.

A little while into the trip, they stop at a truck stop for some food and repairs. Fuller thinks it is a good idea to buy a CB radio and have it installed in Lewis’ car (yeah, he’s the type of guy to do that kind of thing). Fuller is the kind of guy who can’t sit still and always needs something to do – and he thinks the CB radio will be a fun way to kill time while driving across the country.

They talk to various strangers with a couple of phony accents, but they really go for it with one guy named Rusty Nail (voiced by Ted Levine). Fuller convinces Lewis to pretend he is a woman. Lewis (as this woman) tells Rusty to meet them at the motel they are staying at. They give the room number of the guy next door to them; who was rude to them while they were checking in. When Rusty knocks at the door and a woman does not answer, he does not handle it well.

The next morning the police question the brothers, but nothing comes of it.

Joy Ride

The brothers eventually get back on the road and before long they start to hear from Rusty again via CB radio. They are terrified, because the guy in the room next to them back at the motel ended up in the hospital. It’s a game of cat and mouse for a while, until they actually come face-to-face with Rusty (through his truck). He claims he just wanted to scare them and drive off. They think it is over, so they go on and pick up Venna. It’s not long before Rusty makes his presence known again.

There was a resurgence of teen (or slightly older characters) slasher films in the 1990s, thanks to Scream. This movie actually reminded me of some of the knockoffs. I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend are a few that come to mind. The tone had a very similar feel. Fortunately for the makers of this movie, this movie was a lot better than the two I just mentioned. They are not very good movies. This movie is a better example of what the genre has to offer. It’s all about execution.

Joy Ride

Paul Walker actually doesn’t play a tough guy/superstar for once. He usually plays the good looking jack of all trades. Lewis is sort of a geek and certainly not the toughest guy in the world. Steve Zahn’s character is an ass, but he was supposed to be an ass, so that was a good performance too. He is good at playing the goofy sidekick. Leelee Sobieski was suitable as the damsel in distress. She was actually fine to be honest, her character just wasn’t in the movie a ton. She shows up halfway – if not later – through the movie. Ted Levine voices the character Rusty Nail. I assume that some stuntman plays him when we actually see him though. It doesn’t matter, since we never see his face. Levine’s voice is perfect for this kind of role.

This is not a great movie, but certainly entertaining enough if you are looking for a hokey slasher.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on April 13, 2015.