Joyride is a Raucous Roadtrip

When I first saw the trailer for Joyride, I knew immediately that I wanted to watch it. While some trailers completely give away the whole movie, Joyride’s trailer didn’t but I was a little concerned it did include all the movie’s funniest parts. I’m glad to say the trailer did not.

Joyride is a laugh-out-loud adventure following four friends, of sorts, through an adoptee’s journey to find her mother. Ashley Park stars as Audrey Sullivan, who was adopted by white Americans, befriended by Lola Chen, played by Sherry Cola, when she comes to Ashley’s defense against a playground bully. They grow up the best friends even though Audrey is the stereotypical straight-A, Asian overachiever, while Lolo is…not. Audrey becomes an attorney, while Lolo is an aspiring artist of sex-positive artwork.

When Audrey is promised a promotion at her law firm conditioned on personally closing a deal with a Chinese businessman, Lolo sees it as an opportunity for Audrey to fulfill her lifelong wish to find her birth mother. They set out on a trip to China, joined by Lolo’s K-Pop loving cousin, nicknamed “Deadeye”, played by Sabrina Wu.

In China, Audrey reunites with her college roommate and close friend Kat, played by Stephanie Hsu who is an actress on a popular daytime show, and who, despite having had quite a reputation in college, is now devoutly virginal again because she’s engaged to her co-star, a Christian who is saving himself for marriage.

The true adventure begins when Chao (Ronny Chieng) claims that in order for him to do business with Audrey, he must meet her birth family, whom she has never met. Trouble ensues almost immediately when the four friends board a train to Audrey’s adoption agency.

This is where the movie detours into some surprising scenarios and comical hijinks before it veers back to a movie about abiding friendship and the love of family.

While it was unexpectedly raunchy, when I found out Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg and their production company, Point Grey, were behind this film, it all made more sense. This movie is quite the departure from Imovies depicting Asian women. This is definitely NOT your mom’s Joy Luck Club.

So, while many may celebrate the incredible representation in Joyride, the older Asian generations may find it crude and offensive. I already know my mom will have something to say about this movie if she does ever watch it. Probably along the lines of “Oh my goodness!” and “Susmaryosep!” (a Filipino portmanteau of sorts for Jesus, Mary & Joseph) complete with the sign of the cross.

Each of the friends eventually reach a different destination of self-discovery at the end of this enlightening excursion, but Joyride truly lives up to its name: a raucous, enjoyable journey, this one a roadtrip of sisterhood, finding the sidestreets of adventure before homing in on the true meaning of friendship, all while wryly poking fun at and highlighting parts of the Asian culture that many will find familiar and relatable. Definitely a great friends night out movie.

3.5 out of 5 stars