Sunday, January 22, 2012
RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS (2001)
Directed By: Penny Marshall
Written By: Morgan Upton Ward
Based On the book By: Beverly D’Onofrio
Cinematography By: Miroslav Ondricek
Editor: Lawrence Jordan & Richard Marks
Cast: Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Steve Zahn, Brittany Murphy, Adam Garcia, Lorraine Bracco, Sara Gilbert, Rosie Perez, Peter Facinelli, Vincent Pastore, David Moscow, Marisa Ryan, Mika Boorem, Desmond Harrington, Paz De Le Huerta
Seriocomic story based on the memoir by Beverly Donofrio, the movie follows a young woman who finds her life radically altered by an event from her teen years. Born in 1950, Beverly grew up bright and ambitious in a working-class neighborhood in Connecticut; her father was a tough but good-hearted cop who listened to his daughter's problems, and her mother was a nervous woman eager to imagine the worst. From an early age, Beverly displays a keen intelligence and an interest in literature, and dreams of going to college in New York and becoming a writer. However, she also develops an early interest in boys, and at 15 finds herself madly in love with a boy from her high school. However, an attempt to get his attention leads to an embarassing incident at a party, and Ray, a sweet but thick-headed 18-year-old, steps forward to defend her. Beverly and Ray end up making out, and after one thing leads to another.
Brittany Murphy gives such a fun supporting performance you are able to see the heights of her talent. Being hilarious and real at the same time. In Fact I kind of wish she had the lead. Though her role offers more opportunity to be outrageous. That are usually reserved for supporting character who are at least allowed to be wacky. Where as the lead is the emotional compass for the film. Who the audience is supposed to relate to. Drew Barrymore as the lead is ok in the film. The lead role is the type of character that is getting old for her to rely on plus her playing the age of 15- mid 40’s is stretching it a little especially in the early scenes which are meant to seem fun and carefree but seem embarrassing and unfunny.
I think with the demise of TV-Movies during the 90’s when they were on almost each night or weekly. There was endless supplies of material. Sure a lot of them were interchangeable, but it also kept a lot of minor stories from being made into major motion pictures. While interesting this is one of those stories that would have been better told on the lifetime network or hallmark channel. Then a feature film.
The film offers nothing new we haven’t seen a million times on screen. It seems more like a vanity project, IT has all the trapping of s tv movie but a feature film cast.
Penny Marshall’s direction is rather flat and to the point no nuances. She makes things colorful, but not that interesting. It’s not cold and has all the heartwarming moments, but it doesn’t feel like any real effort went into the film it just arrived. No real passion went into it just work.
The movie has a good cast other then Murphy, James Woods is good playing against type as a gruff but warm hearted and caring father. Trying to deal with his out of control at times daughter.
The Character who Drew Barrymore is based on in the film actually achieved a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. In thefilm she is a high School Dropout who has a chance at a book deal.
It’s a nice Sunday afternoon movie close to a family film depending on how lenient you are with what your kids view.
I think the major interest for the filmmaker and the audience is the fact that it’s not a uplifting tale. It’s matter of factly told. The lead character screwed up a lot but made it through. Though her character is still very selfish.
Wait for Television