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Movie Review

Fresh off the success of The Fast and the Furious, Paul Walker climbs back behind the wheel in Joy Ride, a white-knuckler about two brothers who pull a prank on the wrong trucker.

Lewis is driving home to Jersey after his freshman year of college on the West Coast. He plans to pick up a high school crush in Colorado with hopes that, after 2,000 miles of lonely road, they might become more than just pals.

But first, Lewis has to stop in Utah to bail out his jailbird brother, Fuller, a wisecracking ne’er-do-well.

A dull stretch of highway and the anonymity of a CB radio lead to trouble. The guys use a feminine voice to set up a rendezvous with a big-rigger known only as Rusty Nail. Bad idea. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game as the scorned psycho goes to violent extremes to exact revenge.

Give this nail-biter credit for creating an eerie sense of dread and making the audience care about the people in peril. Joy Ride’s variations in emotional pitch (creepy one second, funny the next) keep viewers off guard. In short, it’s a thriller that actually thrills.

However, the movie’s 96 minutes are rife with obscenities and other inappropriate language. Threats of violence get rather intense (an extended scare involves a girl bound to a chair with a shotgun rigged to blow her head off if anyone opens the door), not to mention a gruesome shot of an earlier victim. The young travelers get tipsy on tequila and beer in one scene, especially irresponsible since two are underage. There’s also rear male nudity. Hence, Joy Ride breaks down, stranding viewers—morally—in the middle of nowhere.

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