‘Joy Ride’ review: Adele Lim’s daring debut with Stephanie Hsu and Ashely Park explores the act of self-discovery amid sex, drugs and parties – SXSW

Adele Lim’s debut film, joy ridewill make you cry and show the public that women know how to party hard.

Written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao, the film stars Ashley Park, Stephanie Hsu, Sherry Cola and Sabrina Wu as four friends on a global adventure of self-discovery, drugs, sex and comedy. I would have expected nothing less from an original title film Joy Fok Clubwhich i think is cool.

Audrey (Park) is an adopted child growing up in an all-white household, and Lolo’s (Cola) parents have just moved from China. Their friendship begins at the playground when Audrey is approached by a bully and Lolo punches him in the face.

Now an adult, one is a highly successful workaholic lawyer about to be promoted, and the other is a pop artist who creates art from human genitalia and tries to sell her pieces to the highest bidder to sell. Audrey flies to China to close a deal with an important client, and at her farewell party, Lolo suggests finding her there in China.

As they prepare to leave, Deadeye (Wu), Lolo’s cousin, comes along. The last person to join this group is Kat (Hsu), Audrey’s old colleague and current Chinese TV star, as she is fluent in the language.

On a night out with this potential client, the girls get drunk into a stupor, play slapstick games, drink millennium egg shots and puke all over the place. Things that would normally bother a businessman didn’t bother him. What set off alarm bells was the fact that Audrey did not come across as an “authentic” Asian. To prove this authenticity, the young lawyer must prove a connection to the legacy, otherwise nothing is wrong. Lolo blurts out that her boyfriend is looking for her birth mother while he’s there, so he agrees to sign the deal once he meets her mother. Oops!

Many will see joy ride like a mature comedy. But at its core it is about identity and belonging. Audrey searches for answers because she has not yet explored what it means to be a transracial adoptee.

While her friends also do not understand what this means, the group makes room for Audrey to process these new emotions. These are some of the best friends she could ask for, as they not only support the journey, but they consistently challenge her internalized racism and model minorityism.

Growing up with white parents led Audrey to accept racism in order to conform at work. She doesn’t know how to speak her native language (to be fair, many Americanized people don’t) and believes that White is right (based on the choices she makes in the train scene).

She is unaware of the problems this behavior has on her self-esteem and how it projects on others. Lolo, Kat and Deadeye eventually get fed up with the antics and leave it to their friend, and that’s where it finally clicks for them – but at what cost? joy ride is super-spirited, but also deeply introspective and holds his characters responsible for their actions. I laughed at jokes about vagina tattoos and cried when I found out about Audrey’s past life. It’s good to combine comedy, drama and commentary in a cohesive way.

In her feature directorial debut, Lim is surprisingly given a lot of cinematic and creative freedom. Paul Yee’s direction and cinematography allow audiences to connect with these relatable characters.

Filming across Asia can’t be easy, but the director tackles every shot with unwavering passion as there is no hesitation in directing her work for the first time. She believes in the story and its execution – which is essential to the artistry, especially when shooting a multi-million dollar object in international locations.

joy ride revolves around the Asian experience, but also has something for everyone. I would have liked to see more of Audrey’s efforts to find information about her mother, and I also felt that parts of the ending were rushed. But the script is superb, the direction is dynamic and the cast is sensational. Props to Chevapravatdumrong, Hsiao and Lim for knowing when to have fun and when to get serious. It’s a difficult balance to find, but they pull it off effortlessly. What a driving pleasure!

Source: Deadline

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