Home Film & TV Joy Ride: Pushes Limits of Comedy & Demonstrates Quality Representation

Joy Ride: Pushes Limits of Comedy & Demonstrates Quality Representation

by Neil Bui

Joy Ride is going to be remembered for being the film that not only pushes the limits of comedy, but also what Asian American representation can mean onscreen.

Writers Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao, and director Adele Lim brought their creative genius together to tell a story that feels deeply personal at times while still being approachable for audiences from any frame of reference. At its core, Joy Ride is a comedic, soul-searching, friends-on-an-adventure type of story. Each character is written as distinct individuals, whose actresses embody so well as there’s something different brought to the table with each of them.

Ashley Park’s character Audrey is an Asian American adoptee who really demonstrates the code switching that so many of minority Americans have learned to do in order to succeed in different environments.

Audrey’s childhood best friend Lolo, played by Sherry Cola, is unapologetically herself as an artist and openly embraces sex positivity, which is a refreshing thing to see on screen after countless portrayals of dragon ladies and damsels in distress.

Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Stephanie Hsu stars as Kat, who was Audrey’s college roommate clashes with Lola as they both see themselves as Audrey’s best friend.

But the one character who made me laugh the most is none other than Lolo’s cousin Deadeye, played by comedian Sabrina Wu. Their character brings both vulnerability and a lovable awkwardness as a Koreaboo. Wu’s portrayal never feels deprecating; Deadeye simply is who Deadeye is and simply happens to deliver some of the more unhinged yet hilarious moments (hint: being hosed down post vomited upon). But at the same time, Deadeye is a character who really embraces their friends as they’ve learned to love without fear.

These four main characters show that the Asian American experience is vast and multifaceted, as the trailers alone show these characters in situations audiences have come to expect in other raunchy comedies but not often starring Asian faces, let alone female faces. And the film accomplishes this without feeling too loaded, it’s a comedy at its core but isn’t afraid for its viewers to have their heartstrings pulled.

Speaking of heartstrings, it’s always a pleasure to see Asian men as heartthrobs in a major film and this time around its Desmond Chiam, Alexander Hodge, Rohain Arora, and Chris Pang breaking down barriers as they break hearts.

And one of the production companies behind the film, Point Grey Pictures, is no newcomer to this level of nutty humor, as they’ve worked on films such as Sausage Party and This Is The End?, with founders Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on as producers for the film alongside CEO James Weaver and creative executive Josh Fagen, joined by the writers and director of the film.

Catch Joy Ride in theaters beginning July 7, 2023.

Where to watch Joy Ride

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