After failing to get into college, Beverly Donofrio loses interest in everything but riding around town in cars, drinking, smoking and rebelling against authority. After becoming pregnant, marrying, then divorcing, she must cope with being a teenage single parent. She finally ends up at an elite New England university where she tries to reach a balance between her mistakes and her goals.
Drew Barrymore carries this uneven but ultimately rewarding screen adaptation of Beverly Donofrio's memoir with the sheer force of her plucky charm. The comedy-drama, which covers two decades (1965-85), follows the travails of a young working-class Connecticut woman with literary ambitions who at 15 is forced into a dead-end marriage by an accidental pregnancy. Steve Zahn is wonderful as her dimwitted but devoted husband who becomes a heroin addict. - Stephen Holden
2001-10-19 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Riding in Cars With Boys