It's summer break and college freshman Lewis Thomas has decided to embark on a cross-country road trip to pick up the girl of his dreams, Venna. But Lewis' romantic hopes hit a detour when he stops on the way to rescue his older brother, Fuller, who goads him into playing a practical joke on a lonely truck driver, over a CB radio. Now that trucker, an unseen and terrifying force known only by his CB handle, "Rusty Nail," wants the last laugh... and revenge.
Though not quite up to "Red Rock West" or "The Last Seduction," John Dahl's earlier noir exercises, this suspenseful and surprisingly funny confection is head and shoulders above the usual dumbed-down, overplotted studio thriller. Steve Zahn and Paul Walker play brothers whose CB radio prank on an interstate trucker provokes psychopathic vengeance. Leelee Sobieski, a friend along for the ride, is the inevitable girl in distress. Not everything makes sense, but Mr. Dahl's clever direction and Mr. Zahn's hyperactive charm play off each other in tight, smart syncopation. – A. O. Scott
2001-10-05 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Joy Ride