It’s only fitting that Emer Reynolds’ Joyride opens in a bustling Irish bar, because suspending disbelief for this madcap caper definitely requires the kind of open mindedness that only multiple Guinnesses will provide.
Plucky 12-year-old Mully (Charlie Reid) doubles as a waiter and human jukebox at his father’s pub, belting out Broadway classics to raise money for a charity in honour of his late mother. After discovering his father’s nefarious intentions to misuse the donations, Mully makes a break for the nearest getaway vehicle, only to hit the gas and discover a woman passed out in the backseat with her baby. Unsettled by the prospect of motherhood, boozy solicitor Joy (Olivia Colman) plans to give the baby away to a family member and get on a plane to sunny Lanzarote to escape her woes.
In an inexplicable turn of events, Joy forces the young boy to drive her across Ireland. The car ride that ensues features a series of predictable getaway tropes, including evading the police, running out of petrol and getting on each other’s nerves.
The barrage of silly one-liners sells Olivia Colman short
If you’re able to look past the police’s bizarre inaction, Mully’s implausibly excellent driving skills and the schmaltzy score, there are moments of fun to be had. Colman and Reid make a believable surrogate mother-son pairing, with the Oscar-winner predictably great at capturing a mum in the throes of postpartum depression, but the barrage of silly one-liners that follows sells her – and the character – short. Ultimately, it’s a joyride that runs clean out of gas.
In UK cinemas now.