Joy Ride Review

Raunchy comedies have been around for as long as I can remember. From Porky’s to American Pie to Bridemaids we have laughed historically at someone’s misadventures. These comedies have always been a great way to escape the world and just laugh for an hour and a half amongst other people. Now the one thing all these comedies had in common was the humor but there was always a lack of diversity. There may have been a few token characters thrown in the movie but they were never the main characters. One movie that changes that was Girls Trip and the humor in that one showed that representation mattered and we wanted to see ourselves on the big screen in mainstream comedies.

Joy Ride is a laugh-out-loud comedy that needs to be seen in theaters with your friends. The entire all-female Asian leads are incredible. The humor hits you from the beginning and does not let up until the final shiny “putti tat” moment. Now before we get ahead of ourselves let’s back up and tell you what this movie is about.

Stephanie Hsu as Kat, Sabrina Wu as Deadeye, Ashley Park as Audrey, and Sherry Cola as Lolo in Joy Ride. Photo Credit: Ed Araquel

Audrey, played by Ashley Park, is the adopted daughter of an American couple who befriends the new family in the neighborhood. Their daughter Lolo, played by Sherry Cola, is a little rough around the edges and becomes best friends with Audrey. We see how both of these girls take different paths in their education. While Audrey is the perfect student with plenty of major accomplishments, Lolo is the type of student who follows the beat of her own drum and makes life more interesting for Audrey.

On the verge of a major promotion for work, Audrey must go to China to close a deal with Ronny Chieng’s character Chao. Lolo decides to come along and tries to convince Audrey to search for her birth mother while in China. Audrey is focused on just closing the deal and catching up with her college friend turned Chinese soap star, Kat, played by Oscar nominee, Stephanie Hsu. Along for the ride is Lolo’s cousin, Deadeye, played by Sabrina Wu, who is hoping to meet her online K-pop friends in real life. BTS ARMY REPRESENT!!

In the meeting with Chao, he learns that Audrey does not know who her real mother is and says that someone can’t really know themselves if they do not know where they come from. He tells Audrey that he would like to meet her mother in order to close out the deal. This leads Audrey and her friends on a trip across China to find her birth mother.

Now if you think that the trip from point A to point B will be easy you are dead wrong. The first mishap is when the ladies take a train and Audrey feels that the train car with the single white female would be the right room to sit in for the trip. Once security starts going from room to room they find out that this innocent-looking lady is anything but innocent. The ladies are recruited to help her hide the drugs she is smuggling which results in them swallowing, snorting, stuffing, and hiding the drugs in and on their bodies.

I stated this is the first of many mishaps for the ladies because they get into a lot of hilarious situations after getting kicked off the train. There is a situation with basketball player Baron Davis and his basketball team. Kat, who had a wild past, is a born-again virgin for her fiance Clarence, played by Desmond Chiam. Her sexual repression and frustration are tested when she runs into her old flame Todd, played by Alexander Hodge. We see a different side of Audrey when she hooks up with two members of the team. I will say this moment was shocking due to the fact that we never see a threesome this explicit and hilarious at the same time.

Joy Ride. Photo Credit: Ed Araquel

While the humor in the movie is fantastic the real heart of the movie is the journey about finding yourself. Audrey feels that since she was raised by an American couple she does not know who she really is and wonders how her life would be different if she was never adopted. Unlike Audrey, Lolo has a strong connection to her family and that is shown in a scene where there is a family gathering. There are many aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and cousins all gathered around for dinner. They are sharing stories and and enjoying delicious food together.

This togetherness is a connection that all the women have on this trip. Their friendship is tested due to the different careers in their lives. Audrey and Kat are successful while Lolo is a carefree artist and Deadeye is just Deadeye. Like many friendships, they have their ups and downs but in the end they are there for each other. Although this movie did have me laughing a lot it also had me tearing up during some moments in their travels.

Some may see Joy Ride as just a comedy being raunchy for shock value but if that is all you see you will miss a fantastic story about friendship, family, and belonging. Deadeye has the most touching story due to them being the outsider in the group. I feel a lot of people will be able to relate to their story and see how once people get to know them their feelings will change and see who they really are. That’s what family and friendship are all about.

Final Thoughts: Joy Ride is a hilarious road trip comedy that will have you belly laughing throughout most of the movie. The four female leads have their own moment to shine and have enough screen time for you to get to know them and relate to them. In the vein of Bridesmaids and Girls Trip the humor is raunchy and hysterical. Hopefully after the success of this movie, we will start seeing more comedies with female Asian leads.

Kid-Friendly: This is not a kid-friendly movie. There is drug use. There is a lot of drinking and there is a sex scene involving one of the leads and two men. There is also female frontal nudity and a lot of profanity.

Violence: There is no physical violence in the movie but there are some intense arguments between the friends. The closest the film gets to violence is when the group is playing a slapping game at the nightclub.

From the producers of Neighbors and the co-screenwriter of Crazy Rich Asians, JOY RIDE stars Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Oscar® nominee Stephanie Hsu, and Sabrina Wu. The hilarious and unapologetically explicit story of identity and self-discovery centers on four unlikely friends who embark on a once-in-a-lifetime international adventure. When Audrey’s (Ashley Park) business trip to Asia goes sideways, she enlists the aid of Lolo (Sherry Cola), her irreverent, childhood best friend who also happens to be a hot mess; Kat (Stephanie Hsu), her college friend turned Chinese soap star; and Deadeye (Sabrina Wu), Lolo’s eccentric cousin. Their no-holds-barred, epic experience becomes 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.

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