The Funniest Comedy Film of the Yr

The R-rated theatrical comedy movie is back — and more diverse than ever.

With movie studios increasingly wary of edgy or controversial comedies, this summer is one to remember. Hollywood has banked on pictures like No Hard Feelings, The Blackening, and now, Joy Ride. The film is Adele Lim’s feature directorial debut, after she previously worked as a co-writer on Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last Dragon.

Joy Ride is the funniest comedy of the year. It’s a knockout from start to finish, with immaculate humor from its charming leads. A comedy like this only comes once in a blue moon, and when it’s done well, it knocks your socks off. It’s a quintessential female friendship movie that goes heavy on the hard-R humor, a la Girls Trip. People from all walks will find it hysterical, but it hits hardest for people who understand the cultural backdrop.

Each character feels perfectly distinct from the others. The protagonist, Audrey Sullivan (Ashley Park), was adopted by a white couple as a baby and cannot speak Mandarin. Many second-generation Americans may find Audrey relatable, but she has many qualities that make her a charming lead. Her childhood best friend is Lolo (Sherry Cola), a sex-positive artist who takes her cousin Deadeye (Sabrina Wu) along for the ride. They meet up with Kat (Stephanie Hsu), a Chinese actress, and with that, we have our ensemble.

Joy Ride (2023) Official Red Band Trailer - Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu, Sabrina Wu

The chemistry here is electric. You believe Audrey’s strong individual friendships with Lolo and Kat. But upon meeting each other, Lolo and Kat have a tense, hilarious rivalry. At first, Audrey is uncomfortable with the eccentric Deadeye coming along. While Deadeye could have been the annoying character, she may quickly become a fan favorite due to Wu’s excellent portrayal. Park brings a lot of humor and drama to Audrey. Cola might bring out the most laughs of any character in the film. Hsu, who recently received an Oscar nomination for Everything Everywhere All at Once, is as marvelous as you would expect as Kat.

Everyone in the movie feels like a person you know and would grab a drink with. This is partially due to the excellent script from two Family Guy writers: Teresa Hsiao and Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, whose name Peter Griffin once rearranged into “Chemotherapy vanguard vCr.” As two Asian writers, they bring a level of authenticity to the hilarity on the page. Lucky cats, for example, become licky cats. Much humor is derived from sex, drugs, and their commitment to embracing hilarity and ridiculousness.

Lim reigns the chaotic hilarity like a pro. The comedic set pieces are pure gold and will have you howling with laughter. There’s a moment that made me scream purely from the shock factor. Although the movie undercuts many of its more serious moments with jokes, it delivers plenty of emotion in the third act. Joy Ride is a future classic comedy like The Hangover, with one of the best comedic ensembles since Bridesmaids. Get your friends together and go out for a guaranteed great time at the movies.

SCORE: 8/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 8 equates to “Great.” While there are a few minor issues, this score means that the art succeeds at its goal and leaves a memorable impact.

Disclosure: ComingSoon attended a press screening for our Joy Ride review.