Joy Ride

Verdict: Joy Ride is a fun-filled riot with a divisive amount of dirty humour.

  • David Denman, Stephanie Hsu, Ashley Park.
  • August 4th 2023
  • Adele Lim

Ashley Park, Stephanie Hsu, Sabrina Wu and Sherry Cola go on road trip to China to find one of their birth mothers.

If you’re a fan of The Hangover and Bridesmaids, then the raucous comedy Joy Ride is for you.

Emily in Paris star Ashley Park stars as Audrey Sullivan, an Asian-American who was adopted by white parents as a child and grew up in a predominately white community in White Hills, Seattle, with the exception of her best friend Lolo Chen (Sherry Cola).

When Audrey goes to China on a business trip, she brings Lolo, a struggling artist, along for the ride to serve as her translator. However, the trip gets off to a bad start when Lolo unexpectedly invites her cousin Deadeye (Sabrina Wu) to join them and doesn’t get along with Audrey’s uni bestie Kat Huang (Stephanie Hsu).

The trio fails to grasp that this is a work trip for Audrey and treat it like a party holiday and keep urging her to find her birth mum while they’re in the country.

If you have a dirty sense of humour, then Joy Ride will work for you, but if you do not find that type of comedy funny, you probably will not like it.

This film goes really far with the crass comedy and there were too many vulgar sex-related gags. Some of them were hilarious but others fell totally flat. It felt like it was trying too hard to be edgy and the crude humour just needed to be dialled back a bit because it was so frequent in the first half that it lost its effectiveness.

Despite this issue, the script is still really funny outside of those moments and in places where the comedy feels more organic and less forced.

The heart of the film is the themes of female friendship and cultural identity. It accurately shows how friendships evolve over the years and how different friends serve a different purpose. With Audrey’s identity, she feels like she doesn’t truly belong at home, but she is considered too white in China, so where does she fit in? These themes are handled in a meaningful, heartfelt way.

This is Park’s first time as the lead character and it proves that she deserves more opportunities like this. She is the emotional core of the piece, the one the audience connects with, while the others provide the comic relief. They work so well together and are a joy to watch.

Joy Ride is a fun-filled riot with a divisive amount of dirty humour.

In cinemas from Friday 4th August.

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