July 6, 2023

SCREEN | Girls Trip to China – 'Joy Ride' Dares to be Raunchy

"I'm just a garbage American who only speaks English."
Ronny Chieng Adele Lim | Joy Ride
Lionsgate / Cineplex Pictures
Malaysian-American screenwriter Adele Lim makes her largely triumphant debut behind the camera in the generically titled but hilariously raunchy girls trip comedy Joy Ride (originally titled Joy F*ck Club). Filmed entirely in the Metro Vancouver area standing in (sometimes poorly) for Seattle, Beijing, Seoul, and Paris, the scattershot but appealing film focuses on its killer cast led by Asian-American women.

Starring the quartet of Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu, and Sabrina Wu, there's both the typical sex comedy fare intertwined with touching themes of female friendship and what it means to be Asian outside of Asia before travelling to Asia for the first time. Park and Cola are very funny and convincing as childhood best friends bonded by their shared ethnicity around Caucasians who grow apart as adults while Hsu and Wu are amusing as wildcard sidekicks along for the ride across mainland China.

Produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, there's a familiar string of gross out humour, explicit sexual dialogue and jokes about body parts, drugs, and race. Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao's road-based script packs in a lot and does not even bother trying to explain a ton of coincidences, contrivances, and run-ins as the four trek across Southeast Asia on their way to save a clearly lost cause of a business deal.

Joy Ride is a flat-out hilarious comedy aimed at young Asian female audiences but also fun for everyone. Its jokes about transracial adoption and being white vs. Asian ring true while letting its stacked cast of Southeast Asian performers let loose and be gross in the name of broad humour. For better and worse, the film is never afraid to let it all hang out.

Some notable Vancouver filming locations:
  • Jasmine Garden Seafood Restaurant in Abbotsford
  • YVR Airport as both Seattle-Tacoma and Beijing Capital International Airport
  • Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Chinatown as the set of a Chinese soap opera called "The Emperor's Daughter" (pictured above)
  • Blood Alley in Gastown as Seoul, South Korea
  • Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver in Chinatown as Beijing, China

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Paste / Slashfilm

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