The Movie: With the recent success of Tobey Maguire in theaters
House Rules), it seems as if the movie studios holding the copyrights to his
previous films are jumping on the Tobey-bandwagon and releasing his films on
DVD. Joyride, filmed one year before Tobey's break-out performance
in The Ice Storm,
features Tobey starring as a young man working in his father's motel in the
middle of nowhere. Other recognizable names in this easily forgettable
film include Benecio del Toro and Adam West - unfortunately, neither they, nor
Tobey can rescue this film from failure.
J.T. (Maguire) along with his best friend, James (Wilson Cruz) meet up with a
wannabe model, Tanya (Amy Hathaway), and steal a car for a (what they thought
would be) harmless joyride. After reaching their destination at the lake,
they find a dead body in the trunk of the car (novel idea, eh?) and start to
panic. After doing what anyone else would do, dumping the body in the lake
and hiding the car, their lives start to unravel. Of course, the body is
found, and the woman whose car they stole is looking for them as she wants to
know what happened to the body and her car.
Eventually, everything around J.T. and James starts to unravel while the cops
(led by Benecio del Toro) try to get to the bottom of the bodies, stolen cars,
and random beatings. It's all a bit complicated and the film itself is
weighed down by an extremely slow pace and some bad acting to boot. When
all is said and done, the film falters and eventually falls flat on its
face. As the film struggles to be both a drama and a thriller, it succeeds
The Picture: Presented in a full screen 1.33:1 ratio, it's
obvious that not much thought went into the DVD transfer. Most likely
Artisan took this dusty print off their shelves and rushed it through production
to maybe make a buck or two off of Tobey Maguire's name. The image isn't a
terrible travesty as it's pretty clear throughout with only a few minor
blemishes. While watchable, it would have been nice to see the film in its
original aspect ratio and (although this film probably won't sell too many
copies) - an anamorphic transfer would have been nice as well.
The Sound: Being a smaller film with no well-known talent (at
the time), Joyride isn't a big-budget film and features few, if any sound
effects. Presented in Dolby 2.0, dialogue is easy to understand, but
there's not much else to the audio.
The Extras: Absolutely none. Quite amusingly, on the back of
the box, the "Special Features" are listed as: Full Screen Version
(ooh goodie - none of those annoying black bars), 2.0 Dolby Surround (nice of
them to avoid the overused 5.1), Interactive Menus (the menu consists of 'Play'
and 'Scene Selection'), Scene Index (easily access the few (and far between)
good parts of the film), Digitally Mastered (I would hope it's digitally
mastered - that's the only way you can get it onto a DVD), and English Closed
Captioning (how thoughtful - but not quite a special feture).
Conclusion: Even though it's only $14.98 (retail price), this
film is worth much less. There's absolutely no extras on the disc and if
you're going to sell a DVD based strictly on the feature presentation, one could
hope for much better than this. Perhaps if you're a fan of Tobey Maguire
and want to see one of his earlier performances, you may like this film.
Amy Hathaway also ably lights up the screen in bikinis, tight t-shirts, and
underwear - but aside from that, there's really nothing to look for on this
DVD. Skip it.