Saturday, January 10, 2009

Riding in Cars With Boys (2001) PG13 - 3½ Stars

I just love Drew Barrymore in most everything she does and this movie is no exception. It's a great coming of age story that shares the missed dreams, mistakes and opportunities of a young girl who becomes pregnant at 15. The movie takes place in Connecticut in the 1950's, where such things were not discussed much.

Beverly Donofrio (Drew Barrymore) has big plans of attending college in New York and becoming a famous writer. Growing up, her father (James Woods)used to take her for rides in his police car. One Christmas when the only thing she wants in life is a bra, her father refuses to get it for her and she starts to write that's what probably screwed her up in life.

About to be 16, with active hormones erupting, she soon finds herself imaging the love she feels for the local jock at school. When she hears of a party he will be attending, she makes a point of expressing herself to him. But instead of the effects she had rehearsed, he humiliates her, causing her to make a scene. Instead, Ray Hasek (Steve Zahn), who's admired her from afar, comes to her defense. Eager to get her mind off the jock, Ray takes her for a ride in his car. The two begin to make out with one thing leads to another until her cop "on-duty" father pulls her from the car. Weeks later and no easy way to tell her parents, she informs them of her pregnancy.

But Beverly is still determined to go to college even as her family wants to lock her away from the world from their embarrassment. The only thing to be done is to get married. At her wedding, her father shuns her making her feel the shame she has brought to him. Even with the odds against her, she is still determined to finish high school and get excepted into college.

Her goal is fading from view as she watches her husband Ray strung out, wasting away on his addiction to heroin. She must make the hard choice of leaving Ray to become a teenage single parent. Years later, with her son fully grown, she finally realises all she's dreamed of has been in front of her all this time.

Sony Pictures International, Sony Pictures Releasing
Director: Penny Marshall
Writers: Morgan Upton, Morgan Ward
Producers: Julie Ansell, Richard Sakai, Sara Colleton
I viewed 12/08

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