Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) Poster

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Real life is brutal.
Dan Aldridge1 January 2003
I admit that I watched this movie for the most frivolous of reasons: I liked Brittany Murphy's performance in the trailer ("My daughta's a tramp!"). I really never cared for Drew Barrymore, before. However, my opinion of her has changed. Drew put in an INCREDIBLE performance in this movie. She really nailed it. In fact, all of the actors gave commendable performances. I was so moved that I was quite uncomfortable for much of the movie. The pain that was portrayed was so real that I almost regretted purchasing what I thought was supposed to be a comedy. I'm glad I got through it - and an hour later I'm still stunned by what I saw. This movie is well worth seeing.

Perhaps the reviewers who hated it don't understand that you can be repulsed by another person's behavior, but you don't have to agree with them. You don't have to accept their morals (or lack thereof) in order to recognize what they are going through. And perhaps in seeing these roles acted out, you will see someone you know who has touched your life. Perhaps you'll even see yourself. I profess to have high moral standards, but I was not offended by this movie. I just felt very sad. I've known people like these characters. I don't feel that they were trying to justify their decisions.

They were just telling a story. I also think that this movie was a kind of therapy for Beverly, who is standing up, triumphantly, shouting, "I went through a lot of crap and I made it!"

Sure the viewer gets beaten up by this movie, but in a respectful way.

This isn't a fairy tale. This is a story about real life. And real life is brutal.
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If you want the depressing truth, read the book - otherwise a GREAT movie!
moviewatcher20105 January 2005
While not belaboring this entire string of comments, I was glad that a couple of people have already mentioned about getting the truth from the book, as opposed to this movie.

The movie itself is excellent and will keep you glued to your seat. Drew Barrymore did a phenomenal job in her portrayal of Beverly Donofrio, as Beverly is depicted in the film meaning how the storyline was written - and it is definitely a story, but an enjoyable one nevertheless.

I could barely find any similarities however between what took place in the movie and what actually happened to Beverly in real life. Had they produced the movie as the book was written, it would have been a much more intense drama with tons of sex, drugs and rock and roll, literally. Beverly Donofrio as depicted in the movie is nothing short of a Miss Goody Two Shoes compared to how Beverly actually was. But had the producers gone this route, it would have been very depressing to see.
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A great way to learn about life.
Pookyiscute4 July 2006
It's a shame that this movie can't be shown in high schools, as an educational video. It would certainly serve a terrific purpose, of how one small mistake can change the rest of your life forever.

Beverly (Barrymore), at fifteen, falls in love with the quarterback of the football team. She decides one night at a party to show her love to him, by presenting him with a poem, she's written for him. Unfortunately, being as naive as she is, she presents it to him, in front of all of his friends, where she is then made fun of. Feeling sorry for herself, and very hurt, she runs upstairs to the bathroom, in the house where the party is taking place, crying. There, she meets the man she will soon fall for, and give herself to, for the very first time. However, this boy is not the boy she wants to marry, but is forced to, by her parents, because she is now pregnant. At fifteen, and married, she is now faced with a new life, and new responsibilities. The movie circles around this new life, and how she is able to overcome so much, with so very little. Her deadbeat husband, small and poor home, young child to raise, and at time hopeless future, all gang up on her, while she tries to overcome all of it. Her dreams are not unrealistic, but rather unreachable because of all the problems and mishaps that happen throughout the next fifteen years of her life.

It's poignant, sweet, funny and honest. There is not one person who will watch this, and not relate to at least one thing from the story. Although it may take place in the 1960s-80s, it's still very true to life, and understandable.

I would recommend it to anyone, and hope that everyone will see the power of a message this film holds. It's really an amazing true story, and there aren't many like this out there.
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I enjoyed this ride
sajeeva sinniah20 September 2004
Based on the life of Beverly Donoforio, and the book with the same title,this movie was phenomenal. The 'feel good' feeling that this movie is gifted with, makes this movie a top notch drama/comedy.

This will undoubtedly be Drew Barrymoe's greatest performances. Her performance as Beverly seemed as if she was just born to play it. The way her voice, sweetness and personality blended with the character, seemed as if Drew was playing herself and not Beverly. Brittany Murphy gives a solid performance as Faye- Beverly's best friend. This movie had a great cast including Steve Zahn- who was outstanding as Ray- Beverly's drug taking husband, Adam Garcia, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, and Peter Facinelli- who all gave unforgettable heart warming performances.

The make up is also another reason for watching this- teenage,middle aged and older Beverly are all played by Drew, and it looks natural- it's same with Ray. The humour in this movie along with its drama, make this a must see for everyone. A good production.
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Surprisingly Good 7/10
The_Wood8 April 2002
Riding in Cars with Boys is definitely a step into a new direction for actress Drew Barrymore. Drew, in her most difficult role to date, tries and succeeds through the majority of the movie. There are times when she goes a little out of bounds, and becomes outrageous -- but for the most part, she nails the part.

The film tells its story nicely, and has a strange and some-what heartbreaking ending. Steve Zahn is easily the high-point of this film. Zahn's character will be the one you think about the most when this film ends.

Riding in Cars with Boys works on enough levels to make it worth seeing.
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Funny, touching, and full of the spark of life
xorys14 March 2003
I put off watching this for a long while, until well after its release on video, because of the very mixed reviews it got and the perception that the content was drab and potentially preachy. Well I was wrong. This is an excellent movie, well worth the expenditure of two hours of anyone's time (well... unless maybe you've only got 24 hours to live, or something). Although the subject matter may sound dour, and certainly does deal with "kitchen sink" issues which can strangle the human spirit without even allowing it the luxury of looking heroic as it succumbs... still the film is about life, not about defeat, and the characters never lose an inner spark and humanity which makes us care about them, and like, or even love them by the time the movie finishes. It's funny and moving... and in a way which seems to have more to do with the way life is funny and moving than with movie conventions.
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I never get tired of watching this movie
leeta_9821 March 2003
I have seen this movie more times than I can count! Whenever it is on cable, I watch it and I have purchase the CD as well. As an only child of a single mother, I can relate to what Jason felt as a child. As an adult now, I can relate to the challenges that Beverly must have faced. Drew Barrymore is amazing and believable. The actors who played Jason at various points in his life added so much comedy to the movie. Some of my favorite scenes are with Drew and the real-life brothers who portrayed 4 and 7-year old Jason. I admire Drew so much for putting her heart and soul into this movie--a real movie that explores the sometimes complex relationship between children and their mothers.
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Real life is not a dream but hardship,pain and only sometimes filled with moments of happiness
patilinet adrian21 November 2004
A great movie in my opinion,not the usual melodrama-stuff,as some might believe reading just the plot.

The story of Beverly and Ray could be that of anyone of us.

Their marriage enforced by her pregnancy and consequently due to unwritten rules of puritanism governing a small Connecticut community,brought together two rather unexperienced and immature teens. Her behaviour after giving birth to Jason,conflicts to a certain extent to that of a normal mother.But was she a normal mother? We need to understand her! This pregnancy linked her to a unwanted man and brought life unexpectedly to a child.It blocked her dreams of going to high school and college,so her behaviour is justified to a certain extent.

Two scenes,at the end,I consider as masterpieces.

First her meeting together with the grown-up son at Ray's house,after years of separation,finding there a still drug addicted person,physically and even mentally finished.Ray feels guilty for all pain inflicted to her,but the only thing he can do now is to sign that paper authorizing her to publish the story of their life.

Secondly the scene of Beverly and Josua reunited as mother and son for a short while,embracing near Ray's house,before going each one a separate way.Josua to his beloved,she calling her father to catch her up with the car and go to home of her parents.

The last scene is particularly moving,father and daughter driving home in the car,sing that lovely song "Dreams".This might be bout all the unfulfilled dreams of her life,or perhaps an illusion that all her hardships were nothing else than a dream.No dreams whatever,all she lived was true life.And this was a serene,nice end ,after so much drama unfolding in her life!
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A Funny Yet Sad Movie.
movies2u19 April 2002
This movie is about Beverly Donofrio (Drew Barrymore) who's life is messed up when she gets pregnant from Ray Hasek (Steve Zahn). Now, Bev's life is turned upside down. She tries to get through the hard time while her best friend Fay (Brittany Murphy) sticks by her side. Her mother (Lorraine Bracco) and Father (James Woods) are very disappointed in her, and now she has decided to marry Ray. Sit back and listen to Beverly tell the story of her troubled life, where she finally found peace.

This was a great movie. It was really sad too. This was a good girl's movie, but also would be enjoyable to guys like me. I give Riding In Cars With Boys an 8 out of 10! :)
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Very Interesting and Moving
Theresa30 October 2005
I cried all the way through the movie - the drama and plot were well developed and the surface plot was anything but shallow. Barrymore played a different role from her normal persona, but it was definitely a success for her. The movie is told mostly in flashbacks, and is a little confusing at first. As the plot continues things start to fit into place, and you can't stop watching the screen. Murphey definitely stuck out in this movie too. Her personality bubbled off the screen, and she brought what little humor there was to the movie. I wouldn't classify it as a comedy, but it is a movie that I'd want to see again and again. I recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for a good drama.
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"The Truth Will Set You Free!" (Not a Spoiler)
ncarmadilloman23 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I really liked this film. Apparently, Roger Ebert and my mother may be

the only others who share my enthusiasm. If you saw it and found

yourself unable to relate to the heartfelt message that the cast and

crew attempted to deliver, it may well have been for one of two reasons.

Either you were fortunate enough to have been born with a silver spoon

in your mouth, or more importantly, you were not raised in a broken


Director Penny Marshall does a wonderful job of craftily structuring

this film. The chronological breaks are cleaver enough to keep it

interesting for anyone, but not artistically modified to the point of

repelling the more common viewers, who are prone to be its biggest


Drew Barrymore is terrific in her portrayal of Beverly D'Onofrio at age

fifteen and beyond. If the film was rigidly based on a true story then I

am particularly impressed with the fact that D'Onofrio, (who wrote the

book), didn't sugar coat her inability to be a good mother, young or

otherwise. Many parents who are brutally neurotic or behave selfishly

throughout the upbringing of their offspring don't even realize it, and

are certainly not likely to publicize these facts as explicitly as she

does here. She encounters a whirlwind of negative factors, which include

a sea of disappointment and heartache that plague her throughout her

young life. With this in mind, it might have been easy enough to depict

herself as a model parent and still produce a book worth being


Whenever relevant, whether or not a film is based on a true story

carries different degrees of weight with me. For instance, "Saving

Private Ryan" was very good, but had it been based on a true story; it

would have been phenomenal. On the other side of the coin, the validity

of "A Beautiful Mind" is grounded exclusively on the basis of reality.

Had it been based purely on fiction it would have been garbage. Yet

another example includes films like "Life is Beautiful", it wasn't based

entirely on truth, nor did it need to be.

The first time I saw "Riding in Cars with Boys" I missed the opening

credits and was unaware of the fact that the story was based on actual

events. After seeing the film a second time, with the true story aspect

in mind, it took on an entirely different meaning for me.

From the standpoint of non-violence based biographical dramas that

successfully deliver a message that is heartfelt and true, I compare

this to some of my favorites. If you've seen "Mask" (1985), "Stand and

Deliver" (1988), "Awakenings" (1990) or "Remember the Titans" (2000),

then there's a good chance you'll embrace this film as well.

Unfortunately, "Riding in Cars with Boys" may be the most popular among

these recommendations so keep in mind the reverse is true as well.

Some other non-biographical considerations to keep in mind when deciding

whether or not you might enjoy this film are, "Fried Green Tomatoes"

(1991), "Steel Magnolias" (1989) and "The Spitfire Grill" (1996). If you

found any, or all of these to be worth while viewing experiences then

"Riding in Cars with Boys" may be right up your alley.
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MrMojoRising11 June 2002
There are films made obviously with a female audience in mind which nevertheless are enjoyable for guys as well - take Bridget Jones Diary for example. This is not such a movie - its got girlie night in written all over it.

That doesn't mean its any good though. Its biggest problem is the fact that it doesn't seem to know whether its a comedy or a melodrama, and flits nervously between the genres. Drew Barrymore tries to flex her acting muscle, but sometimes she stretches it a little too far, and her crying / shouting / laughing fits begin to grate quickly. Her part spans 20 years, from the 15 years old pregnant girl with the dissappointed father up to the neurotic 35 year old mother. She's unlikeable in this role at every age.

The worst scenes are the ones between Barrymore and Adam Garcia. Although he plays her son (15 years younger)he's only two years her junior in real life, and frankly it shows to disconcerting effect. Its a good half hour too long, and the only thing really to the films credit is Steve Zahn, who as always steals the show.
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This film is an 11 on a scale of 10
poliglot15 June 2002
Surprise. I am a 64 year old Republican, knurled and well used Macho Man, and guess what? I really enjoyed this wonderful story. Chick Flick? Maybe? But "Chicks" can tell stories too, and this one is told damn well. This film was beautifully done and wonderfully Acted. As well, Penny Marshall is growing by leaps and bounds in my book of directors whom I respect. (Those would be in the main, Milos Forman, Stanley Cramer, Ronny Howard and a couple of others). The film was beautifully Acted. And the Scene of Drew on the stairs trying to force herself to fall down, was absolutely hilarious, and worth the price of admission for that scene alone. What I cannot understand is why Crap, Like Moulin Rouge, Sexy Beast, and others rate so highly here at IMDb, and this film does not. I realize it is difficult to compare stories, but crap is after all crap by any other name. But this Little ensemble piece was a delight in every way. The casting was flawless, and come here....put your ear close to your computer screen I want to whisper something and I don't want anyone to hear.....are you listening?...well here it is: Steven Zahn is going to knock off hollywood's socks, if he is allowed to and given some film vehicles to do so, He is a superb Actor. He is Tom Cruise with half the looks and 10 times the acting ability, and as yet a quarter of the fame....Ah, well there is no accounting for taste. Everyone in this film was superlative. It was a very poignant, warm, and funny picture, that likely showed us a little about ourselves. Penny...Ole! Well Done.....Also Kudos to James Woods for ever being the consumate actor and taking a smaller role and as always doing it wonderfully. This knurled old Scotsman is a Fan of this film. I will definitely see this again. It is a film of substance, flavor and charm and I am sure for those reasons alone it will be totally overlooked by the academy. No one in Hollywood wants and 'actual story' now days....but not to worry there are a wicked few of us who perhaps recognize that "The story...and the telling of it is everything" This Man, yours truley, gives this Chick Flick a 11 out of a possible 10
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Poor Beverly D
Rogue-3220 February 2003
Riding In Cars With Boys, aside from being one of the most heavy-handed, tragically artless films directed by a supposedly seasoned director (Penny Marshall) that I have ever witnessed, is also one of the most pathetically written.

The movie makes us sit through the (long, lonnnnnnng and dreary) story of poor Beverly D'Onofrio, saddled with a drug-addicted loser of a spouse (a believably muddled Steve Zahn) and a little boy (who's, let's face it, adorable), who longs to leave her small town banality and become a writer. We are forced to see her thwarted at every turn, betrayed by everybody she loves, blah blah blah...until finally her son is grown and she shows up at her heroin-addict husband's new hovel to find him married to (get this) Rosie Perez.

We find out that Beverly has moved to NYC, gotten a job at a newspaper and has completed a book. But guess what??! We are never shown (or even TOLD) HOW she finally broke away and created a new life for herself. The only interest I had in this soap opera from hell - in fact, the only real drama IN the story - would have been the satisfaction of seeing Bev free herself from her suffocating non-life, but that transition was LEFT OUT, leaving us to slog through more heavy-handed (and WAY beyond tedious) scenes of supposed closure between Beverly and her now-grown son, in which every brutal banality in the book is foisted upon us in an attempt to make us feel something other than battered. We do not.

Even a wonderful actor like Drew Barrymore can't save this movie from its own mired muck. If you're thinking of renting this tripe, I suggest you drive down to your local In and Out Burger and ask for it "Animal-style" instead. MUCH more rewarding. (AND far less time-consuming.)
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An uneven and soapy story that fails to engage
bob the moo8 September 2005
Beverly knows more than others how your life can change direction with one simple action. She had dreams of becoming a writer as a child but when she got pregnant at 15 all of that changed and she found herself married and living in a cheap house raising a son while trying to study for her exams. This is the start of her struggles where her husband never aspires beyond his next beer and she struggles with responsibility towards her son Jason. Years later, riding with her adult son on a trip, she thinks back over her years.

The title and trailer pretty much let me know that this was aimed at a certain demographic that I am not part of, but I decided to give it a go anyway. The plot is a tapestry of moments across Beverly's life from her dreams to middle age; it is a mix of the comic and the tragic and it doesn't sit that well. Penny Marshall seems to want the comedy to come out – even when it is not appropriate (for example Beverly allowing Jason to continue drowning for comedy effect) and this sits very uneasily with the more dramatic character side of the film. In fact the more serious (and interesting) aspects are mostly badly handled and fall a bit flat. In particular Marshall cannot cope very well with the fact that her lead character is a deeply flawed person that the audience easily dislike at times; the film gets close to examining this at the end but, typically, chickens out big time. The story is mainly quite dull then and the moments that are meant to be funny just seem strangely out of place.

The cast don't help at all. Barrymore is serviceable but can't get to the heart of her character. OK, she isn't helped by the material but she swings wildly from playing "silly" at one moment to overdoing the histrionics. Zahn is not the first choice you want for a film with a story; he goofs well enough but finding depth is not really his forte and he adds to the shallow feel of the main story. Gilbert is hardly in it but Murphy is actually quite good, but then the material doesn't really ask much of it anyway. Woods and Bracco add familiar faces but really nothing else, in tiny roles. Perez plays a money grabber in a small role and made me wonder if she goes out of her way to find such characters? A minor thing that got to me as well was the fact that this is meant to play over years and years but mostly, nobody ages convincingly: apart from costume and hairstyle Barrymore looks the same at the start and the end of the story and this pretty much goes for everyone. A minor quibble but it bothered me.

Overall this is an average and uneven film. The story is interesting because it features such a flawed lead character and could have been interesting but it is roundly mishandled. The comic moments sit uneasily with the story as a whole, but Marshall seems happier with these touches than actually delivering the drama goods. The cast match her approach and their performances vary wildly depending if the scene they are shooting that day was a "happy scene", "sad scene" or "angry scene". Target audience might like it but it is far too flawed to have wider appeal.
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A Must See Movie For Parents, Teenagers, and High School Guidance Counselors . . .
zardoz-1318 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Riding in Cars with Boys" illustrates the challenges unplanned teenage pregnancies pose. "Laverne & Shirley" comedian Penny Marshall, whose credits include "A League of Their Own" and "Awakenings," pulls no punches in this sappy but unglamorous big-screen adaptation of real-life protagonist Beverly Donofrio's autobiography. Told largely in flashbacks, this cautionary yarn paints a bleak but rewarding picture about Donofrio's struggle raising a son with an undependable dad. When she learns about her husband's addiction to heroin, Donofrio kicks him out and raises her son alone. Not only does she take menial low-paying jobs, but also she sacrifices her dreams about college. Hollywood hellion Drew Barrymore of "Charlie's Angels" fame knows something about life's hard knocks from her highly publicized substance abuse problems, so she makes a believable single mom. Clocking in at well over two hours, "Riding in Cars with Boys" blends comedy with tragedy and features a first-rate cast including Rosie Perez, Brittany Murphy, and "Sopranos" star Lorraine Bracco. Indeed, this down-to-earth, realistic tearjerker should serve as required viewing for lusty high schoolers whose obsession with sex fails to factor in small town New England the consequences when a booty call backfires.

Drew Barrymore plays the disaster-prone oldest daughter of strait-laced police chief Leo Donofrio (James Woods of "Once Upon a Time in America") growing up in small town New England in the turbulent 1960s. Young Beverly displays a knack for writing poetry. After school one evening, best friend Fay (Brittany Murphy of "Don't Say A Word") and she crash a "Can't Hardly Wait" house party. Starry-eyed Beverly reads a poem she penned for an egotistical football athlete she has a crush on. Callously, the stereotypical letter-jacket jock lambastes her literary efforts. A grief-stricken Beverly locks herself in an upstairs bathroom, only to find herself confined with lovable low-life Raymond Hasek (Steve Zahn of "Joyride"). Eventually, not only do they hit it off as friends, but also they become lovers. Ray gets fifteen-year old Beverly pregnant, and a shotgun marriage follows. Well-meaning but infantile, Ray isn't fit for fatherhood. Foolishly, he gets hooked on heroin, and Beverly divorces him. Our sympathetic heroine doesn't fare much better as a single mom. She blames all her failures on her son. As Jason gets older, he takes care of her. Beverly and Jason (Adam Garcia of "Coyote Ugly") are driving out-of-town to visit Ray, who has since remarried, when the film opens with a flashback. Although Beverly has written a memoir about her misadventures, her publisher wants her to obtain a signed release from Ray before the book can be printed.

Marshall and writer Morgan Upton Ward refuse to sugarcoat this ambitious but downbeat PG-13 saga about the perils of teen parenthood. The wedding scene when Beverly's embarrassed father thanks his friends for showing up is a classic bittersweet moment. Although the pace becomes sluggish and uneven, with characters drifting in and out of the story, the message about unplanned pregnancies loses none of its impact. Altogether, "Riding in Cars with Boys" qualifies as a must-see movie for parents, teenagers, and high school guidance counselors.
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one of my favourite films
moomin_me21 April 2006
This film has showed me what young single parents go through and that it isn't just a walk in the park. i think that this is one of drew Barrymore's and Brittany Murphy's best performance's. it made me realise even if your 'smart' you can also be 'dumb'. even if something goes wrong it can turn out alright if you try hard and put your mind to it. its nice that the film has a good ending as well, because i've seen films like this before that have bad endings which has ruined the film. if you like this film you should consider watching 'fiteen and pregnant' it has the same principle but it shows you what the mother's life was like before the baby came along, not what the child's life was like as well. Over all this film 'riding in cars with boys' has changed the way i look at life and it makes me feel that i am glad and ready now, for what could happen, however unintentional.
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Not a great movie.
deemarie189920 May 2005
It is a shame about this movie since I had looked forward to it since I saw a preview. All right, I did not enjoy this movie. I almost fell asleep, my mom and younger sister did fall asleep. I thought that there were some good parts in it, but not enough to ever justify watching it again. The only character that I actually felt any compassion for whatsoever was Drew Barrymore's drug addicted husband. Which I somehow felt was not the goal of the movie. I did not enjoy Barrymore's character, I could not empathize with her. In all, I would think that there are many other movies that deal much better with the same topics (teen pregnancy, love, ambition, drugs, etc).
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A quiet but wonderful film
mahsa_moossavi24 October 2004
This is a great film in my eyes - Drew Barrymore is wonderful and she carries a film which although sad and true could have been pretty boring.

This film appealed to me personally because some womens lives - me included is a series of riding in cars with 'boy' be it fathers brother potential lovers ex's or any 'boy' in your life. There is both a feeling of freedom and being trapped as a woman in this film, and the film explores and portrays this sensetivly and also at times startlingly.

I recommend this film to all women who have been trapped and even more to woman who have thus far avoided being trapped...

A small film that made a big impression.
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It's not a Comedy!
jlavezzo6 November 2001
Far from the rip-up comedy that ads presented, this depressing "Papa was a heroine addict and Mama dried weed in our oven" melodrama ruined my weekend. The over-acted performance by James Woods as the cop-dad who can't make up his mind if he feels selfish, compassionate, caring or heartless towards his good-girl gone bad, socially inept and unparented daughter was the kick that booted me out of the theater about 1h20m into the film. -- Riding in Cars with Boys was too much like someone's disappointing and depressing life to bother going to see. -- If you want to experience life like that, volunteer to work with teenage moms. -- If you want to be entertained, go see Monsters, Inc. or Harry Potter.
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If you want to know the real story read the book
Kristinartist7923 July 2004
Although the plot and the characters are the same as in the book, the story had changed a lot. First of all, Beverly's parents did not force her to get married. In fact, they encouraged her to live with them so they could help support the baby instead of getting married. In the book, her parents were NOT supportive of her dream to go to college, which was a big part of the book that was left out. It was also Beverly's excuse for getting pregnant. I understand they leave parts out of a movie to edit it but they totally changed it. Also, the movie did not show how guilty Beverly was. They did not show her smoking pot with her husband and their friends almost every night. They did not show (except for when the husband was sick) that neither one of them worked and they were on welfare smoking pot all day, not taking care of the kids. I have the movie on tape and its great but a totally changed story. I understand, it was the 60s and 70s and a lot of people did drugs, but it still made her a bad mother and worst than the Beverly in the book.

The part about her trying to get a scholarship never happened. In fact, she never even mention "doing everything she can to get them out of there." (Something she said throughout the movie) She did not even make her husband get a job! She went to college way after she was divorced cause welfare paid for it but there wasn't any scholarship involved. In fact, she was not even a good student at first. But when she finally graduated, she had some job as a secretary or something. It took her a long time for her to do anything with her degree. If she was as practical as she was in the movie, she would have gone to school for something more realistic. And she was so selfish that she put all her money into getting her masters,(like it made a difference if she had one) that she was not going to put her own son into college. You would think she would want to be better than her parents. In the movie, it seemed like she did everything she can to make sure Jason went to N.Y.U. Or course, even in the movie every thing was about her. She did not care about her son's feelings when he saw his father. She seemed a lot more controlling in the movie, not wanting her son to move to a school too far from her. In the book she was more permissive. So anyway, if you want the real story, read the book.
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What was this based on?
jmckissick@yahoo.com22 August 2003
This movie is supposed to be based on a book by Beverly D'Onofrio. However the screen writer appears to have taken a well-written book and turned it into a movie where we are supposed to feel sorry for a woman who is a teenage mother. The main flaw is that the writer chooses to focus on how awful Beverly's life is, they show her working twice, and never explaining why, if she has this amazing writing ability she doesn't write for a local newspaper. It also never shows us how she got out of subsidized housing. All this movie succeeds in doing is making us feel bad for a woman who made a mistake. In every scene she is sulking and is always blaming others for her problems. She never once in the movie admits that she messed out and ruined her own life. The plot aside the acting is horrendous at best. Drew Barrymore overacts in every scene and the only person who isn't "please slit my throat" painful on screen is Steve Zahn. Everyone else apparently thinks that this movie is Oscar-caliber and is out there to make a name for itself. I watched this movie with minimal expectations and was disappointed. This is easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen and I've seen Friday the 13th 7: Jason takes on Manhatten.
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Barrymore's Dues
tedg28 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Ms Drew is quite a woman. I don't think she is a great actress, but she is working real hard with what she has, and that can be said of only few actresses. Part of her plan is to create and control her own projects. So we have this kind, consisting of the Cinderella tale, the never been kissed deal, the wedding singer thing and this. She doesn't mind playing plain. She does a good job at being pathetic. Too bad she feels she needs to pay her dues in this way.

There are two formulas that cannot transcend themselves. One is the story about fabulously rich people. The other is about pathetic losers.

One wonders about some of these scripts. With so many self-referential work going on now, it entirely possible that her choice has something to do with her own mistakes.
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A disgusting, despicable film!
kanerazor12 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
OK so there was this woman named Beverly D'Onofrio, who got pregnant as a teenager and found it interfered with her dreams of going to NYU and being a great writer. And she decided that since her son "ruined her life" she would force him to make it up to her and make him suffer his whole life. And then she wrote a book which is intended to make us care about her, and then Drew Barrymore and Penny Marshall made a movie out of that book which not only tried to present that as a heartwarming story, but tried to throw in some light comedy and period music to make the thing more "charming".

Possible spoilers ahead:

I HATED this movie. I have never hated a movie so much in my life, and I can't imagine how many I have seen. And that's because this movie morally offended me, trying to make me love a person who is so deserving of contempt. There were many points in this film where I literally cringed or gasped at the way Beverly treated or spoke to Jason, and the utter hatred she was displaying towards him. And that continued throughout his life. I have never seen such a selfish woman depicted in a flattering light; even when he was 20 Jason couldn't have 10 seconds to make an important personal phone call. Not when poor precious Beverly wanted him to take her somewhere. I wanted to strangle her during that horn honking scene. And to the fans of the movie who say "Beverly redeemed herself at the end" I say


That's exactly what she did not do. After two hours of watching her torment her son, it was horrifying when he tried to confront her and she hit him and yelled "I was a GOOD MOTHER!" And after actually showing him bursting into tears and pouring his heart out about how much he was suffering, the filmmakers tacked on some 10 second attempt at Beverly being nice on there and that was supposed to make up for everything. No, I think that was completely forced and didn't make me loathe this movie any less. Any minimal impact it might have had was undone by next showing Beverly talking to her father and acting amused/offended at the notion that she caused Jason's problems.

Beverly had sex. It was HER fault she didn't get to do everything she wanted before suddenly becoming a mother. Jason didn't asked to be born; he was an innocent child who clearly had a good heart and just needed to be loved like the rest of us. He deserved all the sympathy in this story, Beverly none. And some might say that maybe I'm being judgmental; it's incredibly difficult to be a teen mom. I'm sure it is; I don't know any personally so maybe I would have had a little compassion for Beverly IF the movie didn't also show Faye, who become pregnant at the same age and still loved her child unconditionally. To anyone who dare try and justify that by saying that Faye was lucky enough to have a girl, and Beverly got stuck with a boy (and looks like that was supposed to be a big deal, I've seen that shot of Beverly looking at her newborn and crying so many times), that makes Beverly even worse in my eyes. Maybe some people are unstable and can't help how they act, but if Beverly would have been nicer to a daughter, then that means she quite deliberately chose to mistreat her son, and I find that despicable. Frankly if I was Jason and my only parent felt that way towards me, I think I literally would have committed suicide. I heard this story was changed considerably from D'Onofrio's memoirs; I hope her actual behavior wasn't much worse. I also hope Jason turned out all right and there really was an Amelia.

Some miscellaneous thoughts: -I read that Beverly was really 17 when she gave birth. By changing the age, I guess they intended to make us sympathize with her even more. Certainly didn't work for me, especially since, again, Faye was the same age. It didn't help matters any that Drew Barrymore did not look 15 at all; all that that make-up and hair did was make her look like a really idiotic grown woman.

-Certain scenes such as Beverly throwing herself down the stairs, which was played for laughs, were clearly meant to endear her to us. The effort only made me hate her more in retrospect.

-Steve Zahn drew infinitely more sympathy out of me with his character. Yes, Ray was a drug addict, and a bum, and a terrible husband, but beneath it all I got the feeling that he really truly loved Jason, a feeling Beverly never once gave in spite of how many times she licked her hand and fixed his hair.

Yes I am a guy, and I've read that this was the type of movie for which the label "chick flick" was virtually invented. But don't let my gender taint the validity of my opinion; I'm writing simply as a person whose mother loves and cares for him tremendously and feels all moms should be like that. And if they're not, they shouldn't be treated as nice people whom we're supposed to care for. I find it very sad that there are teen mothers out there who, in spite of the circumstances, do their best to raise their children in a loving, nurturing environment, and are trapped in poverty, while Beverly D'Onofrio gets a major motion picture made about her.
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Excellent Movie!
BreanneB24 June 2005
I thought this movie was excellent. Definitely deserving of 10 stars out of 10. Also of two thumbs way up and kudos to all those involved. I have the book that tells this story and the sequel "Looking For Mary". This is definitely one of my favorite movies. I have the d.v.d. that is the special edition. I have seen the interviews with the real Beverly Donofrio. She is such an amazing woman. Jason is so lucky to have her as a mother. Although, I know from reading the two books and little things in the movie that at times he could really disrespect and hurt her feelings. Although, now that he's married the two of them and his wife could not be happier. Beverly, and her new faithful and good husband are now more happier then ever. Great Movie!
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