Olivia Colman & Charlie Reid Elevate An Average Dramedy

Feb 7, 2023

Home Movie Reviews Joyride Review: Olivia Colman & Charlie Reid Elevate An Average Dramedy

At the end of the day, every performance in Joyride is above average and the filmmaking is competent enough to create a believable environment.

Olivia Colman and Charlie Reid in Joyride

Joyride is well-made and well-written. As road trip movies go, it is an interesting take on the genre that has love, laughs, and kids swearing left and right. Director Emer Reynolds (The Farthest) gets a standout performance from young newcomer Charlie Reid, and Olivia Coleman (The Lost Daughter) is as charming as ever, even in a role that is “unlikeable.” The story’s ethos is quite compelling, but Ailbhe Keogan’s script doesn’t have any scenes that grip the audience for more than a moment or two. At the end of the day, every performance is above average and the filmmaking is competent enough to create a believable environment. Joyride does not live up to its title, but it is a solid comedy in a year lacking laughs.

When Mully (Reid) loses his mom there is a lively Irish wake at the local pub. After he delivers a rousing melody in memory of his late mother, he notices his father, James (Lochlann O’Mearáin), slip out of the bar. As it turns out, he didn’t leave empty-handed. Mully is confused as to why his dad would steal the money raised for his dead wife’s funeral and steals the cash right back. With no plan, he hops in a random open car door and doesn’t look back. When he looks in the backseat, he finds Joy (Olivia Colman) and her infant fast asleep. They don’t wake up until he is far past the town lines. The three get off to an albeit rocky start but come to a truce that benefits them both — she won’t call the cops so long as they drive to a destination of her choosing.

Related: 10 Best Olivia Colman Movies, According to Metacritic

Lochlann O’Mearáin in Joyride

The film is dealing with very serious themes about parenting and what it means to be a child. And in that regard, the character dynamic between Colman and Reid’s characters is very thoughtful and well-developed. Coleman is the adult who is exhausted by every aspect of life and Reid is the preteen who is actually great at taking care of infants because of his neglectful father. Joy wants to give up her child and move on with her life and Reid is torn apart by the idea that a mother wouldn’t love her child. The best scenes of Joyride involve Reid and Colman’s characters fighting their demons with their desires.

The visual standout of Joyride is the choice of color, as well as the color grade of the film. From Colman’s bright yellow jacket to a parade of masked people, the costumes have a way of literally popping off the screen. Full disclosure, there is a giant baby head in this film. Even in scenes where one wouldn’t think to elevate the coloring, Joyride chooses to go full tilt, and it pays off. Not only do the flowers in the flower shop burst with pink and lavender, but the convenience store’s bright red bags of chips and green sticks of gum stand out in the best way possible.

Olivia Colman and Charlie Reid in Joyride

The world-building in Joyride is far and away Keogan’s best contribution to the script. Combined with Reynolds’ comedic direction, every side character is both funny and fleshed out. Everyone from the employees in the shops to the random carnival goer has the ability to seamlessly weave into a plot point and deliver a truly genuine line of dialogue that fills in the emotional gaps left by the rest of the film.

Joyride has its moments, but doesn’t rise above being an average dramedy. The cast is funny and empathetic, and though the filmmaking is not mind-blowing, the colors really do stand out in most scenes. Joyride has heart and some decent laughs, but never fully hits the mark.

More: Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody Review – Great Cast, Standard Biopic

Joyride released in theaters and on-demand December 23. The film is 94 minutes long and is not rated.

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