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Joy Ride
DVD disk
10.05.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Joy Ride order
Director:
John Dahl

Actors:
Paul Walker
Steve Zahn
Leelee Sobieski

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two brothers (Walker & Zahn) heading down the highway to pick up a bra-less friend (Sobieski) decide that it might be fun to play a nasty prank on a trucker with their new CB radio. Failing to see the humor in the joke, the trucker takes it upon himself to exact a most painful and terrifying apology from the two jokers. Chaos and terror ensues as the madman chases them and kicks ass all over the place.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I can't really say this is a bad movie, and I can't really say that it's good either. The reason is that after you're done with this, you realize that it's actually two different films. The first part is really cool, as brothers Lewis (Walker) and Fuller (Zahn) head out and have some raucous fun along the way. Fuller, after having been bailed out by Lewis, causes all the trouble with his very irresponsible pranksterism and their victim, who doesn't find it funny, quickly becomes one of the creepiest bad guys of late. This first half of the movie is pretty tense. You don't really know what's going on and the bad guy's evil feels pretty tangible.

A bit later, after you've completely forgotten that she's in the movie, Sobieski shows up and is her usual pretentious, pompous self. The good thing is that when she shows up, she leaves her bra home and demonstrates how cold the air is around her shirt. The movie takes a bit of a turn towards the ridiculous at that point and becomes more unrealistic, which is quite acceptable for this type of movie, but unfortunate since you never get a sense of that at first. You quickly realize that a trucker can't really be that lethal, that two clowns can't really be that courageous, and that one girl can't really be that annoying. Again, please listen. Don't e-mail me telling me that it's ok for things to be unrealistic in a movie. I'm all good with that. But this movie makes a drastic change in direction halfway through and that's the disconcerting part. All in all though, it was a pretty good way to spend an evening.

On another note, I think I owe an apology. If you've read my review of SAVING SILVERMAN, you'll notice that I don't have much good to say about Steve Zahn. Well, it's time to be a man, suck it up and admit that I was wrong. Little Boy Zahn comes through real well in this movie. He turned out to be the funnest character to watch and he didn't take the performance as over the top as others could have. Sorry Stevie-Boy, I'll buy you a beer the next time around...
THE EXTRAS
Two full-length commentary tracks are available on this DVD. The first one is made by director John Dahl, Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski. The second one is from writers Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams. Nothing to write home about as they go about the typical discussions you would hear on commentary tracks. I must admit though that I couldn't really get through the entire Sobieski track without feeling a bit queasy and without being distracted by thoughts of flying breasts.

Another cool feature is the four alternate endings. Three of them are variations of what you'll find on the final cut but one of them is really cool. Basically, it's not an alternate ending, it's pretty much an entirely different movie. It takes over about halfway through the movie and takes it all the way to the end. One of the weirdest things I've ever seen. Really cool stuff. You also get a deleted scene in there but it's nothing special.

You also get to see auditions by three actors for the role of the voice of the villain. You never actually see him on screen, but his voice makes him creepy enough. It's pretty sad though, that Eric Roberts has been reduced to the point where he auditions for voice roles...and doesn't get them! A small "Making Of" featurette also discusses the typical points of the movie-making process. Naturally, the trailer is also here.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you like Leelee Sobieski or if you can get past her, which I had a lot of trouble doing, you'll definitely enjoy this and I can guarantee you that this movie is original and that it will give you more than your fair share of surprises. The DVD is also pretty decent but it has some pretty low re-watch value so I would recommend a rental over a purchase any day. Check it out though, it's worthwhile.
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