The villain in this film is a guy on a CB radio named Rusty Nail who is never seen, just heard. He sounds an awful lot like the actor Ted Levine, who played Buffalo Bill in "The Silence of the Lambs" and I kept saying to a friend, "That's Ted Levine. I'm sure of it." However, it turns out to be somebody else, so I left this movie pissed off because I was wrong about Ted Levine.
There is a bizarre mix of humor and horror in "Joyride." For starters, Steve Zahn is horribly miscast as the "bad egg" brother of Lewis Thomas (Paul Walker). Apparently Fuller (Zahn) has been in and out of prison for most of his adult life and, as we all know, short, cute blond guys do really well in prison (as currency, at least). When Lewis volunteers to pick up his friend Venna (Leelee Sobieski) in Boulder, Colorado, and she accepts, Lewis embarks on a cross-country trip. He learns his brother is in jail again, and picks him up on the way. For some reason, Fuller buys a CB radio and the two play a trick on Rusty Nail, luring him to a motel where he's supposed to rendezvous with a woman. Naturally, lonely truckers take such practical jokes really well. Instead of a woman, Rusty Nail finds an unsuspecting male motel visitor and rips the lower half of his jaw off.
At this point, the guys should have just thrown the CB in the garbage, but instead, Fuller gets on it and starts taunting Rusty Nail. As we all know, killer truckers take taunts really well. Of course, Fuller assumes Rusty Nail couldn't possibly know where they are, but he does. Is there any explanation for how he could know? Of course not. Prior to this tension, however, there's nonstop joking between Zahn and Walker as though this were a comedy. Fuller is such an idiot that when Rusty Nail stalks them, it's hard not to root for Rusty to at least get Fuller and rip the smirk off his face.
The boys choose not to tell Venna they're being stalked, which is always a great way to get into a girl's pants. "Um, the stalker, yeah, I forgot about him. I'm sorry he's going to kill us. Can I get in your pants before we die?" When they pick Venna up, she's supposedly attending the University of Colorado. I don't know how many millions of dollars they spent on this thing, but couldn't some of it go toward location shooting? Boulder, like every place else in Hollywood's America, looks suspiciously like Southern California. And not surprisingly, "Joyride" plays like just another tired Hollywood exercise.
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