Joy Ride (2001) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's comments in white

Joy Ride (2001) is an escapist action/horror, and the plot seems entirely derivative to me, although it was well-received by the public and the critics.


Steve Zahn and Paul Walker show their buns in an extended sequence in which they are forced to walk naked into a restaurant.
Paul Walker is heading home for the summer from Cal Berkeley, and decides to cash in his plane ticket, buy a car, and pick up Leelee Sobieski in Texas. He is informed that his brother (Steve Zahn) has been arrested in Utah, and stops by to bail him out. Bro buys a CB, and decides it would be fun to have Walker pretend to be a female, and get a trucker all hot and bothered. He asks the trucker to meet at a motel. The trucker doesn't find the joke amusing, and becomes the evil presence that chases the brothers, and then Leelee as well, a la Spielberg's brilliant "Duel." We also have a chase scene through endless rows of corn (haven't we seen that somewhere before?)

Leelee pokes out of nearly everything she wears, but keeps covered. However, it is Leelee with good pokies. I certainly wish someone would get her into a good film and out of her clothes. To me, this is little more than an ok genre effort, or C+.

Scoop's note:

I guess there is a lesson to be learned here about casting. I assumed it was a comedy/horror film because Steve Zahn was in it!

This DVD is worth renting and watching if you are a movie buff, but not for the movie itself. The movie is an OK genre pic, nothing special.

But the deleted scenes are fascinating.

There is one deleted scene, for example, that is 29 minutes long! Normally when you watch these, you find that they are just slight variations of the scenes that made the final cut. Not this time. In this case, the deleted scenes represent a competely different movie. They had this film signed, sealed, and delivered when they decided that it just wasn't taut enough, so they rewrote the last thirty minutes. In fact the original film was far different from the one which arrived in the theaters.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Commentary by director John Dahl, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski and writers Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams

  • Theatrical trailer(s)

  • 29-minute alternate ending plus 4 other alternative endings

  • Voice auditions for the villian with "More Than One Rusty Nail" feature

  • "Making Of" featurette

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

After they decided to scrap the first version of the film, they still had problems working out the details. There are four more alternate endings for the theatrical version, and the director mentions that he filmed the very last minute of the film several more times trying to get exactly the right finish.

Frankly, the version he finally decided on seemed to me like a blatant trailer for a sequel, but he denies that emphatically in his commentary.

Here is what I recommend.

1) Watch the movie. It isn't bad

2) Then watch the deleted scenes with the director's commentary. Listen to his reasoning. They decided to discard the entire movie and start again - and that makes for an interesting story.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Ebert 3.5/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4, 4/5

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars .. grossed a respectable $22 million domestically


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+.

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