Starring Helen Hunt, Brenton Thwaites, and Luke Wilson
Directed by Helen Hunt
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
Here, Hunt is Jackie, a book editor based in New York City who is prepping her teenage son Angelo (Brenton Thwaites) to head off to college in the Big Apple. Much to her surprise, when she attempts to deliver something to her son's dorm, she is told that Angelo has dropped out of school and she soon discovers that he has moved to California to live with his father whom Jackie divorced several years ago. In an attempt to knock some sense into him, Jackie hops on a plane and covertly follows Angelo around California discovering that he has a knack for surfing. As she tries to reconnect with Angelo, Jackie tries her hand at surfing as well, meeting an instructor (Luke Wilson) with whom she starts a little romance.
The acting by all parties and the direction are perfectly fine (though nothing more than that), but it's the script that fails Ride. The story just meanders for ninety minutes floundering in repetition and some odd mother-son dialog that creates a relationship that never feels believable. Interactions between Jackie and Angelo are always awkward and while that oddness sometimes works in comedic moments, as the film shifts to the dramatic towards the end, I frankly can't even comprehend the emotional notes Hunt is attempting to hit. A seemingly pivotal confrontational scene between Jackie and Angelo is wasted because of both a lack of investment from us in the characters and a disappointing screenplay that does the characters no good. And lest I forget that Hunt stoops to that least favorite movie go-to of mine -- old people smoking pot for comedic effect. Ugh...
The RyMickey Rating: D