A deranged movie director once again makes up his mind to scare his audiences,
this time with some psychopathic carp. So he picks up a lone stretch of rocky
terrain, a road map and a Frankenstein look-alike carrier truck. Throw along two
feather-brained kids and a beautiful girl in the same platter, and viola, you
get Joy Ride.
Let me just say, right at the onset, that a great error has been committed in the choice of our beloved, pushy and obnoxious psychopath. In the movie, it's Paul Walker, technically the good guy, that fits the bill better, with his blasé and no-good-at-acting looks. He is the guy to look out for, as your nerves will stand at end by his attempts at giving one single unbroken sentence per shot.
The story itself is a psychosomatic headache. College boy Lewis Thomas (Paul Walker) is on his way to pick up high school pal Veena (Leelee Sobreisky), so that they can get back east for the summer. The plot is ripe for the thrill to begin - a guy, a girl and a weirdo on the loose. But going by the dictums of criminal Sops clause 113, which clearly states that any killer needs a minimum three bodies to make his day, we are necessarily saddled with Lewis' big brother Fuller (Steve Zahn).
It is arranged that Lewis makes a half-hearted rescue for Fuller, who is all set to make another nostalgic visit to the local prison. Two is a company, but when it consists of a stone-carved dude and a tightlipped belle, a third cannot be beyond appreciation. So Fuller tags along, much for the benefit of providing some vocal inputs to the flick, which otherwise is in danger of being assigned to the archives of silent movies.
With half-baked knowledge of lone truckers, Fuller compels Lewis to incite one into a midnight tryst, pretending to be a girl looking out for love. Thanks to the daily media overdose of gory news and view, this trucker is a guy whose idiosyncrasies are well entrenched on our minds. But we are somewhat distressed to say that, beyond expectation, we find the resultant carved out human body of an unfortunate victim rather scary.
Our psychopath, who goes by the name of Rusty Nails, is now out to have some fun with his antagonist. So Fuller, looking like a frittered chicken, and Lewis, with his usual inertia, are all out to emigrate to Saturn. Amidst a lot of imitation Bram Stroker eeriness and a Fuller portraying the facial acrobatics of someone who had had a late night gallbladder attack, the tale meanders. Of course, it's too late to ask Bram Stroker to comment on this one, so we decided to act out the part.
Without digressing into the boringly myriad details of Rusty Nails' plan of action, which was, by the way, drive a truck, ram a truck, drive it again and hoot it ominously, we must let you know that the guy never makes an appearance in the flick. To maintain the credibility factor (if you found it flickering in some obscure corner), Rusty Nails keeps adding Veena, her girl friend and another trucker to his collection of hostages. What does that ham wants anyway, that's possibly the only brainteaser that's thrown your way.
With the camaraderie of fellow dupes, you and your neighbor will be dumbstruck
by the sheer abruptness of the end, if not anything else. We repeat, 87 percent
of the flick is made for making three-year tots to laugh their way to sleep. The
rest, to ensure that you know the tribe of highly hypochondriac moviemakers is
not only alive and kicking, but also still growing like a rash.