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Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)

  Directed by: Penny Marshall
Written by: Beverly D'Onofrio, Morgan Ward
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Adam Garcia, James Woods, Steve Zahn
Links: Riding in Cars with Boys on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD, Buy on Video, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Based on True Story

This movie gets: 3.00 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 179th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Whatever" - a review by pearly

Riding in Cars with Boys is based on the life of author Beverly D'Onofrio. The title refers to the three boys in her life: her father, who used their trips in the car together to lay down the rules by which she should live, her boyfriend and later husband, with whom she created the last of the boys whilst in a car (though presumably not whilst driving), and her son, who drives his mother to an event, the trip forming the basis of the narration of the film.

In the late sixties, Beverly is about to finish high school and hopes to attend college and become a writer. Her life is flipped upside-down when she falls pregnant and is forced by her family to marry Raymond (Steve Zahn), who becomes addicted to drugs and lets Beverly down numerous times.

Essentially, it's the story of a young woman struggling with responsibility, and having to grow up quickly.

Let me get something straight: Drew Barrymore's weird, right? I mean, she's an okay actor, but you can't really ever see anything other than Drew Barrymore when you're watching her in a film; her and her strange speech impediment. Am I the only one who thinks this? I'm sure I'm not. I thought that Brittany Murphy was better than Barrymore in her role as Beverly's best friend Fay, who also falls pregnant at a young age. At least she took on the persona of another person, instead of just being Brittany Murphy playing dress-ups.

Which leads to the fact that this is really just an average story with average acting: overall an average movie. I found myself becoming less and less interested in it as it went along. Completely forgettable.

pearly gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 12 Feb 2004

"Puking in a Theatre with Gusto" - a review by mino

If you know me at all, you'll know that I'm not a 'chick flick' kinda guy. I'm not sure that there's such a thing as a 'chick flick kinda guy', but if there is, well, I'm not it. So, of course, I went into Riding In Cars With Boys thinking that I wouldn't like it at all.

I was right.

Riding is a clichéd, pap-filled, awkward piece of paint-by-the-numbers movie-making. It tells the story of Beverly D'Onofrio (Drew Barrymore), a 15-year-old single mother, and the many tear-jerking adventures that she and her son (Adam Garcia, as an adult at least) have together as he grows up. She wrestles with a doomed marriage, tries to reconcile her relationship with her crusty old father, and (of course) tries to be a good mommy.

The movie is told in a semi-flashback (or semi-flashforward?) style, and the difference between the two lots of scenes is remarkable. The 'old' scenes are quite well-done, but for some reason the 'new' scenes are awful. They seem really tacked-on in some way: they're extremely ham-fisted in the execution, which really drags the whole movie down. It almost seems like they made the old parts, and someone at the studio said 'Hey! There's not nearly enough schmaltz registering on the schmaltz-o-meter! You need to add at least 288 millimidlers of schmaltz before we can release it!', and thusly were born the 'modern-day' scenes.

The acting is quite passable, which makes it even more disappointing that the movie is so bad. I mean, I'm actually quite a fan of Barrymore and her endearingly-bisexual little grin, unfashionable though that point of view may be amongst the movie cognoscenti. James Woods, who plays her father, is no slouch, either: so when neither of those two can save a movie, something's badly wrong. Steve Zahn is great as Barrymore's drug-addled moron of a husband, but given that 'drug-addled moron' is pretty much the only role he ever plays, you can't give him too much credit there.

I'm generally not a fan of the type of child actors Hollywood employs, either — the Jonathan Lipnicki types who are just too cute to be true, but can't actually act. It was a pleasant surprise, then, to see that of the three main actors who play Beverly's son, Jason, as a child, only one of them (gawky teenage Jason) isn't up to par, so at least there are some good things coming out of the movie.

All of this, though, is ignoring the worst part of the movie: the slow-dawning realisation that Barrymore can play a fifteen-year-old quite convincingly, but stretches credibility as a thirty-year-old — despite the fact that she's a lot closer to thirty than she is to fifteen. I mean, that's just not fair, is it? There's an attic somewhere which contains a picture of Barrymore that's looking much the worse for wear, you can be sure of that. Bitch.

If the idea of James Woods and Drew Barrymore sitting in a car together singing (All I Have To Do Is) Dream at the top of their lungs excites you then, hey, maybe you should crank up the VCR (or DVD player, for that matter), grab some popcorn, and watch this movie. If you're not a moron, though, you should probably steer well clear.

mino gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 11 Nov 2002

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 3.00
Lowest rating: 3 (by pearly, mino)
Highest rating: 3 (by pearly, mino)
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