‘Joy Ride’ movie review: This Ashley Park-led all-girls road trip is raunchy and rambunctious

‘Joy Ride’ movie review: This Ashley Park-led all-girls road trip is raunchy and rambunctious

Sabrina Wu, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu and Ashley Park in a still from ‘Joy Ride’
| Photo Credit: Lionsgate

From the moment five-year-old Audrey (Lennon Yee), a shy Chinese girl adopted by white parents, Joe (David Denman) and Mary (Annie Mumolo), meets Lolo (Belle Zhang) at a park in Seattle, she knows Lolo will have her back.

The two girls grow up following their paths — Audrey (Ashley Park) is a high-functioning lawyer while Lolo (Sherry Cola), a free-spirited artist, refuses to work at her parents’, Wey (Kenneth Liu) and Jenny’s (Debbie Fan), restaurant.

Audrey’s boss, Frank (Timothy Simons), tells her she will make partner if she can close a deal with a businessman Chao (Ronny Chieng) in Beijing. Audrey takes Lolo along to help with translation. Even though Audrey insists it is a work trip, Lolo’s K-Pop-obsessed, weird cousin Dead Eye (Sabrina Wu) comes along. In Beijing, Audrey meets her college roommate, Kat (Stephanie Hsu), who is now a television actress, having given up her famously promiscuous past to date her handsome and straitlaced co star, Clarence (Desmond Chiam).

Joy Ride (English)

Director: Adele Lim

Cast: Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu, Sabrina Wu

Runtime: 95 minutes

Storyline: Audrey takes her friends to Beijing on a work trip that turns into an exploration into self via 1,000-year-old egg shots and an intimate tattoo

Things rapidly go south after a hard night’s partying with Chao, resulting in the four women going across the Chinese countryside in search of Audrey’s birth mother. The pilgrims’ progress is interrupted by an American drug dealer, Jess (Meredith Hagner), NBA player Baron Davis (playing a fictionalised version of himself) and his hunky team including Kat’s ex-boyfriend Todd (Alexander Hodge), Kenny (Chris Pang) and Arvind (Rohain Arora). There is a live stream of a K-Pop performance that goes viral thanks to a fallen skirt and a devil tattoo.

Crazy Rich Asians’ Adele Lim makes a confident feature film debut with Joy Ride from Cherry Chevapravatdumrong’s story and screenplay. There is an unfettered joie de vivre about the movie which zips by its 95-minute running time. It is the best kind of movie — the one with a warm, beating heart. While Audrey and her friends get into some truly hilarious, sticky situations, they also take time to listen to their hearts and soul sisters to create a richly imagined, riotous comedy. 

Joy Ride is currently streaming on Lionsgate Play