Joyride
Artisan // R // $14.98 // September 24, 2002
Review by Blake Kunisch | posted November 25, 2002
M O V I E
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A U D I O
E X T R A S
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version

The Movie:  With the recent success of Tobey Maguire in theaters (Spiderman, Cider 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 at neither.

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.



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