SXSW audiences always love a good comedy, and fans of raunchy humor appear to be in for a treat when “Joy Ride” premieres at the festival today. One of the most anticipated films on the lineup, the film about four friends making a trip to Asia to find one of their birth mothers promises to be a crowd-pleasing R-rated comedy told from a perspective fans haven’t often seen before.
According to the official synopsis, “Joy Ride” is a hilarious and unapologetically explicit story of identity and self-discovery that centers on four unlikely friends who embark on a once-in-a-lifetime international adventure. When Audrey’s (Ashley Park) business trip to Asia goes sideways, she enlists the aid of Lolo (Sherry Cola), her irreverent, childhood best friend who also happens to be a hot mess; Kat (Stephanie Hsu), her college friend turned Chinese soap star; and Deadeye (Sabrina Wu), Lolo’s eccentric cousin. Their no-holds-barred, epic experience becomes a journey of bonding, friendship, belonging, and wild debauchery that reveals the universal truth of what it means to know and love who you are.
“Joy Ride” is directed by Adele Lim, who co-wrote the script with Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao. The film stars Stephanie Hsu, Sherry Cola, Ashley Park, Sabrina Wu, David Denman, Annie Mumolo, Chris Pang, and Desmond Chiam. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg serve as executive producers.
While “Joy Ride” is Lim’s first project as a director, she’s no stranger to making films that shatter Hollywood norms regarding the portrayal of Asian people. After spending years as a writer for various TV shows, she burst onto the scene by co-writing “Crazy Rich Asians” in 2018. She followed that success by co-writing Disney’s 2021 hit “Raya and the Last Dragon.” Having worked on conventional rom-coms and family friendly animated features, she decided she was ready to apply her distinct sensibilities to the R-rated comedy.
“There’s a certain way Asian American women particularly are portrayed in TV and film — there’s a lot of exoticization and fetishization,” Lim said in a recent interview with Vanity Fair. “We really wanted to tell a story inspired by our friendship and our friends, and having characters that were messy and thirsty and just pieces of work.”
“Joy Ride” makes its world premiere at SXSW on Friday, March 17. Lionsgate will release the film in theaters on Friday, June 23. Watch the trailer below.