Raunchy comedy can have its place in entertainment, making light of crude parts of life and turning the thought of them into a genuine laugh. But that only happens if the jokes are timed carefully and made with an authentic goal of bringing everyone in on the joke. On the other hand, when not done well, raunchy and crude humor can become annoying, uninteresting, and feel like someone is trying too hard to get a laugh out of you. That’s the biggest problem with Joy Ride as a movie. While its premise is something that could be a hilarious turn of events, instead turns into a mess that feels inauthentic. Though it has some moments that will be funny for some, the movie often feels like it’s trying way too hard to catch a laugh from the audience.
The story of Joy Ride is about a young woman named Audrey, who travels to China with her childhood friend Lolo, along with two other companions. While trying to close a business deal for her high-class job, she ends up going on a goofy journey of self-discovery that will throw the group into some outlandish situations. Though there’s tension with some of the group at first, and a lot of awkwardness, the four of them become close through a series of crazy events that help each of them come to terms with various aspects of their identity and personal lives. At face value the story of the movie sounds interesting and heartfelt, having a similar premise to 2017’s Girl’s Trip, but is ultimately overshadowed by a lot of humor that simply won’t land for some viewers.
Despite a few that land at the start, most of the jokes throughout the movie fall flat. There’s an imbalance of racial and raunchy humor from start to finish, with a breakneck pace towards the middle and latter portion of the story. Things start off with an almost mean-spirited approach to race, which is then quickly dropped almost entirely when Audrey and the group travel to China. There are some light callbacks here and there towards the end, but nothing feels like it comes full circle with some jokes. Nor is there a sense of conclusion for some things that are brought up. The jokes are just thrown in there for a cheap jab to one group or another, and it doesn’t always feel funny.
The same goes for the edgier jokes about sexuality and the crazier parts about having sex. There’s not always a build-up to what could be hilarious, but rather a random pop-in joke that sometimes goes on for way too long than it should. At one point, Audrey’s friend Lolo gets into a whole conversation about the sounds of sex with basketball player Baron Davis that starts off silly and quickly becomes annoying to watch. It just isn’t as funny as the movie is aiming for it to be, which is then offset by a series of events of the group all having goofy moments parallel to one another. A few little moments will get a laugh out of you, but there’s never a consistent flow of jokes that make everything stay funny. There’s also a section of the film that randomly throws some nudity into the mix. It’s a callback to a joke said earlier, but it happens seemingly at random and feels out of place, rather than witty and smart with how it’s handled.
While most of the cast does the best they can with the material they’re given, their delivery of the jokes and reactions are often hit & miss. Audrey and her college friend Kat (played by Ashley Park and Stephanie Hsu) have some preppy interactions as long-time college buddies, while Lolo and her cousin Deadeye (played by Sherry Cola and Sabrina Wu) have chaotic and awkward conversations. They all mix and match with each other at various times, with a wide range of results that don’t always appear funny. When the four are together playing off one another, things work out pretty well. But when split into pairs during the movie, sometimes things become dull or fall flat when they’re trying to be funny, even in the most outlandish and goofy points involving raunchy jokes.
The movie also has an issue with pacing and tone in some sections that feel like whiplash. There’s a whole section of the movie that tries to be serious or heartfelt when the group is traveling around China that feels out of place. While a movie like this needs moments to wind down in-between jokes, there are times when things appear to be from a different movie altogether before slamming into the next humorous section. For some, this might not be a big deal, but for others, this won’t work out that well.
By the time Joy Ride comes to an end, you might not laugh as much as you would like to. A lot of the jokes don’t always land as they should, and instead come off as annoying. But if you can get over some of the awkwardness and shallow points of this story, you might find some enjoyment in watching Joy Ride. But for better jokes and similar handling of this story premise, you may have to look elsewhere.
What do you think of Joy Ride? Will you be watching the movie anytime soon? Let us know your thoughts about Joy Ride down below in the comment section!
While the setup for the story is good, the majority of the jokes don’t always land. The raunchy moments may click with some viewers, but others won’t enjoy it as much. Some pacing issues can impact the enjoyment of the story, especially towards the end. A few jokes are either mean-spirited or happen randomly and aren’t that funny and feel shallow.
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