The recent release of the John Cho film ‘Don’t Make Me Go’ was the most recent example of the beloved cinema staple namely the road movie where the occupants, often at odds with each other, go on both a literal and often emotional journey as they learn about themselves becoming a better person in the process and its for this reason why Boris Johnson will never do a road trip. But we digress……. Joyride is set in Ireland and the mismatched couple here are an Irish 13 year old potty mothed tinker Mully (Charlie Reid) and Joy (Olivia Colman) a singleton solicitor with a week old baby. The pair are thrown together after the wake of Mully’s recently deceased mother where his insensitive dad mourned her passing by plundering the local pub’s charity box that was to raise money for a cancer charity in memory of his late mother. Stealing the money from his father with the intention of giving it to the charity he runs off with his father in pursuit making his getaway by jumping into a cab where Joy is asleep in the back with the baby.
Now we’ve all had some ropey taxi drivers in our time though all of them seem to have been on a course where they feel obliged to ask, ‘Live local, do you? to which you then have to point out that they’ve just picked you up from your house. But we’ve never had a 13 years old boy drive a cab and Joy is blotto from a few too many drinks earning her the nickname ‘vodkatonic’ from Mully. It’s only when she wakes that she sees that who driving is not the usual non-English speaking minicab driver but a 13 year old boy. The more reaction would surely have been to get out but she’s a woman on a mission with a plane to catch to Lanzarote but only after she’s given her baby to her sister. And by given we mean relinquished all parental responsibility for the baby.
So Joy is taken on a ride (ahhh so that’s where the title came from) learning life lessons from each other along the way. What’s revealed the reason for Joy’s lack of maternal instinct that can be traced back to a childhood incident with her own mother whereas Mully has his own father issues, a man who is first and foremost concerned about getting the money back to pay off a debt and then perhaps secondly getting his son Mully back. But as is the demand of road movies the pair develop an understanding and the interplay between Colman and newcomer Charlie Reid is a joy in what is a warn human drama but let down a little by a script that cannot resist the stereotypical stock phrases for an Irish set screenplay so we have them both frequently ‘fecking’ away .
Colman’s roles are often slightly scatty such as that in The Favourite but often her best performances are far more nuanced such as the in The Father but despite the chance to flex her accent talents with an Irish lilt and her best efforts still can’t quite lift Joyride from the middle of the road.
Here’s the Joyride trailer……