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Yes, Joy Ride (2023) Is Raunchy, But It’s Also Emotional

Joy Ride channels films like Bridesmaids and The Hangover. It delivers hilarious raunchy humor, but also quite a bit of heart.

Joy Ride 2023 movie review

Yes, Joy Ride (2023) Is Raunchy, But It’s Also Emotional

If you have seen the red band trailer then you already know what Joy Ride is all about. This movie is unapologetically raunchy. It shows a powerful cast embracing their sexuality. It is absolutely hilarious, but it is also so much more than that. There is a double standard that we are all aware of.

About Joy Ride: When Audrey’s business trip to Asia goes sideways, she enlists the help of Lolo, her childhood best friend, Kat, a college friend, and Deadeye, Lolo’s eccentric cousin. Their epic, no-holds-barred experience becomes a journey of bonding, friendship, belonging and wild debauchery that reveals the universal truth of what it means to know and love who you are.

There will absolutely be some backlash on this movie solely because it features them having one night stands, creating art that resembles body parts, and talking about what they would do to the handsome men around them. Here’s the thing though, there are plenty of movies featuring males that act this way and no one bats an eye. “Boys will be boys,” is what they say, but why can’t women be sexual beings too? 

One of the most empowering things about Joy Ride is the way these friends are unafraid to show that side of themselves — at least for the most part. When it comes to some of the major plot points, this film shows the leads having to hold back parts of themselves for various reasons. This causes the story to become heartbreaking and relatable, and will have audiences both laughing at the humor, and crying when the emotional beats hit.

Joy Ride 2023 movie review

Representation is important, and that is another place this film excels. Not just because of the incredible (almost) all Asian cast, but also because of the variety of genders and sexuality that is displayed on screen.  The movie stars Ashley Park, queer Oscar-nominee Stephanie Hsu, bisexual comedian Sherry Cola, and nonbinary comedian Sabrina Wu. These real life elements of theirs are weaved into their characters in a way that feels seamless. Their stories are being told, and that means so much to so many in this crazy and messed up world. 

Sabrina Wu plays Deadeye, who is very social awkward. There are many people out there like this, and it is sad to see them just kind of accept that they are weird, people think they are weird, and oh well, that is life. Seeing someone of this nature on screen will hopefully open a lot of eyes. Just because someone is different, it doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. We need to accept everyone for who they are.

Joy Ride 2023 movie review

The humor, for the most part, hits. Certain one liners will come back to you days after watching Joy Ride and you will find yourself giggling. The entire basketball team story beat is where the unapologetic-ness of this movie shines. It fully leans into these four embracing who they are, and it is easily one of the best parts of the movie. That and the K-Pop Idols sequence are the standouts of Joy Ride, without question.

However, just as it hits hard, sometimes the humor misses hard. It doesn’t happen often, but there are times when the audience was meant to be laughing and instead… silence. At just ninety minutes long, the movie flies by thanks to brilliant writing and on point pacing.

The themes of embracing who are and where you come from, accepting others, and simply being a good friend are heavy throughout Joy Ride. If you are looking for a raunchy movie about true friendship that pushes the envelope in terms of humor, but still offers a warm and embracing story with powerful messages, you have come to the right place.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

NEXT: Dealing With Dad Review

Joy Ride 2023 movie poster

Joy Ride comes exclusively to theaters July 7th.