The Joke’s on Them
Release Date: October 05, 2001
Starring: Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski,
Paul Walker, Matthew
Kimbrough, & Jim Beaver
Audience: Teenagers & young adults
Runtime: 95 minutes
Distributor: 20th Cent. Fox
Director: John Dahl
Executive Producer: Arnon Milchan, Patrick Markey
& Bridget Johnson
Producer: J. J. Abrams & Chris Moore
Writer: Clay Turner & J. J. Abrams
Address Comments To:Peter Chernin, Chairman & CEO
The Fox Group
Tom Rothman & Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. & News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (310) 369-1000
Paul Walker stars in the movie as Lewis, a college student who’s anxious to give a ride home to a beautiful female friend of his, Venna, played by Leelee Sobieski. On the way to pick her up, Lewis gets a call from his mother to pick up his wayward brother, Fuller, who’s ended up in jail again. To help the long ride to New Jersey pass by quickly, Fuller (played by Steve Zahn) buys an old CB Radio. Fuller cajoles Lewis to play a prank on one of the truck drivers, a seemingly dim-witted hayseed who goes by the name “Rusty Nail,” played marvelously by Matthew Kimbrough. The prank backfires, and Rusty Nail turns out to be a psychotic stalker who almost murders another guy. Soon, he’s after not only Lewis and Fuller but also Venna and her friend Charlotte.
Needless to say, Lewis and Fuller learn a valuable lesson through their frightening encounter with this psychotic trucker. Also, Lewis clearly makes a heroic effort in the climax of the movie to save both Fuller and Venna’s life. Despite these positive aspects, JOY RIDE contains much foul language – including at least 100 obscenities and profanities. In fact, despite the MPAA rating for this movie, which says that JOY RIDE received an R-rating because of violence, terror and language, some of the movie’s language contains crude sexual references. Not only that, but the rating doesn’t tell viewers about the movie’s brief nude scene, where Rusty Nail forces Fuller and Lewis to show up completely naked at a truck stop. So much for Hollywood’s rating system, which, as MOVIEGUIDE®’s Founder and Publisher, Dr. Ted Baehr, has often noted, is a deliberate sham.
Of course, the villain escapes ultimate justice, obviously to make way for JOY RIDE 2. The clumsy way in which this is handled is particularly disappointing, however.
JOY RIDE holds viewers’ interest, but it would have been a more effective thriller if the filmmakers had gotten rid of the movie’s sleazy elements and concentrated on giving their movie some depth. Because of its similarity to Steven Spielberg’s TV movie DUEL, where an anonymous trucker menaces Dennis Weaver, JOY RIDE also invokes memories of Spielberg’s classic fright-fest JAWS. Unlike DUEL and JAWS, however, JOY RIDE aims low and fails to give viewers the kind of original material that makes a true popcorn classic. It’s a derivative movie that few people will remember 15 (or even 10) years from now.
Needless to say, Lewis and Fuller learn a valuable lesson through their frightening encounter with this psychotic trucker. Also, Lewis clearly makes a heroic effort in the climax of the movie to save both Fuller and Venna’s life. Despite these positive aspects, JOY RIDE contains much foul language, including crude sexual references. There are also a couple gruesome scenes of violence. Finally, the villain escapes ultimate justice, thereby making way for JOY RIDE 2