6.5/10
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Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)

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A single mother, with dreams of becoming a writer, has a son at the age of 15 in 1965, and goes through a failed marriage with the drug-addicted father.

Director:

Penny Marshall

Writers:

Beverly D'Onofrio (book), Morgan Ward (screenplay) (as Morgan Upton Ward)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Drew Barrymore ... Beverly Donofrio
Steve Zahn ... Ray Hasek
Adam Garcia ... Jason
Brittany Murphy ... Fay Forrester
James Woods ... Mr. Leonard Donofrio
Lorraine Bracco ... Mrs. Teresa Donofrio
Rosie Perez ... Shirley Perro
Sara Gilbert ... Tina Barr
Peter Facinelli ... Tommy Butcher
Mika Boorem ... Beverly Donofrio - Age 11
Celine Ordioni Celine Ordioni ... Janet Donofrio - Age 8 (as Celine Marget)
Vincent Pastore ... Uncle Lou
Maryann Urbano Maryann Urbano ... Aunt Ann
Alissa Dean ... Townie Girl #1
Jessica Leshnower Jessica Leshnower ... Townie Girl #2
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Storyline

Seriocomic story based on the memoir by Beverly Donofrio, the movie follows a young woman who finds her life radically altered by an event from her teen years. Born in 1950, Beverly grew up bright and ambitious in a working-class neighborhood in Connecticut; her father was a tough but good-hearted cop who listened to his daughter's problems, and her mother was a nervous woman eager to imagine the worst. From an early age, Beverly displays a keen intelligence and an interest in literature, and dreams of going to college in New York and becoming a writer. However, she also develops an early interest in boys, and at 15 finds herself madly in love with a boy from her high school. However, an attempt to get his attention leads to an embarassing incident at a party, and Ray, a sweet but thick-headed 18-year-old, steps forward to defend her. Beverly and Ray end up making out, and after one thing leads to another, Beverly discovers she's pregnant. Telling Ray is only marginally less difficult... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a girl who did everything wrong, but got everything right. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Riding in Cars with Boys See more »

Filming Locations:

New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,404,652, 21 October 2001

Gross USA:

$30,165,536

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,743,308
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Beverly D'Onofrio: guests at Beverly's wedding, sitting directly behind Drew Barrymore. When Faye says, "I just wanted to say how beautiful Bev looks tonight," Barrymore turns to smile at the real D'Onofrio. See more »

Goofs

When Beverly falls down the stairs, padding on her behind shows through her pajamas. See more »

Quotes

Fay: Sometimes we love people so much that we have to be numb to it. Because if we actually felt how much we love them, it would kill us. That doesn't make you a bad person. It just means your heart's too big.
See more »

Connections

References Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

O-o-h Child
(uncredited)
Written by Stan Vincent
Performed by The Five Stairsteps
See more »

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User Reviews

An uneven and soapy story that fails to engage
8 September 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

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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