Riding In Cars With Boys

Riding In Cars With Boys


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

An ordinary girl from an ordinary town in Connecticut gets pregnant at 15, marries the goof responsible and lives to regret it until 20 years later she writes a book and calls it Riding In Cars With Boys. The girl's name is Beverley D'Onofrio. It's all true.

Next question: why on earth make a movie about it?

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Answer: well, er, that's life, I guess.

Not good enough. Bev (Drew Barrymore) is the local cop's (James Woods) daughter. She's a bright kid. When she meets Ray (Steve Zahn), she's infatuated with the high school football star - this is so predictable - who thinks she's a joke. Ray whacks him for insulting her and she is so grateful, she lets him go all the way.

Dad says, "You were special and you ruined my life and broke my heart." She's always been daddy's girl. Now she marrying an idiot and he's so ashamed, he can hardly look at her. Bev has her best friend, Faye (Brittany Murphy), whose having a baby, too, and they'll both have girls "who will grow up like us."

Faye has a girl, but Bev has Jason. The rest of the film is Bev coming to terms with Jason, trying to live with Ray, being a mother, dreaming of going to New York/California/Anywhere. Meanwhile Jason and Faye's daughter become best friends.

There is something here that strikes home. At one point, Bev says, "I'm 22 years old and I still can't accept that this is my life." What small town mother, or desperate housewife hasn't thought that? In this case, she is strong and being strong she makes good and by making good, she escapes.

Barrymore goes through the stages from giggly schoolgirl to tough career woman. It's the dream of a part, except that Beverley is an ordinary girl from an ordinary town. Zahn has been playing dopeheads and no-hopers for years. He's brilliant at it. Now he has to do the same thing, but be extra stoopid. Logan Larman plays eight-year-old Jason not very well and Adam Garcia plays 20-year-old Jason with feeling.

There's a nice punch line. All that time, Bev thought she was a good mother. Jason tells her different. "Does this job never end," Bev wails. After two hours and a bit, the movie ends. That's something.

Reviewed on: 06 Dec 2001
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Bev is an ordinary girl in a small town who gets pregnant at 15 and has to make a life for herself
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Director: Penny Marshall

Writer: Morgan Upton Ward, based on the book by Beverly D'Onofrio

Starring: Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn, Adam Garcia, Brittany Murphy, James Woods, Lorraine Bracco, Logan Lerman

Year: 2001

Runtime: 132 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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