Articles about Ride
1998 The Dallas Morning News, Chris Vognar, 03-30-1998
Movies like Ride aren't made for critics (which is just one reason why movies like Ride aren't screened in advance). But critics gotta do their job, even if it's a dirty one. Ride is an ideal film for the Sprung/Phat Beach audience, but don't go in looking for nuance or crossover success.
Ride isn't an all-out bomb, but it ranks as a disappointment given the talent involved - Reginald and Warrington Hudlin, architects of House Party, produced it; Malik Yoba, known to watchers of New York Undercover and Law & Order, has a prominent role. But most of the journey is marked by tired 'hood jokes and caricatures, with the ubiquitous dash of toilet humor thrown in for good measure.
A long comic riff on Get on the Bus and Fear of a Black Hat, Ride chronicles a cross-country trip on a broken-down bus, carrying an entourage of hip-hoppers and hangers--on to Miami for a video shoot and other shots at stardom. Most of the types have been seen before: the goody-two-shoes (Melissa De Sousa, playing an ingenue music video director); the super player (Sticky Fingaz of the Queens rap trio Onyx) and a bus load of others.
More a series of vignettes than a cogent narrative, Ride strings together its laughs where it can, and stumbles whenever it treads onto feel-good morality turf. Bill Cosby may not have liked Booty Call, but it was a much better film for one basic reason: It picked a tone - irreverent goofiness - and stuck to it through thick and thin. Ride writer/director Millicent Shelton feels the need to confront us with sermons - be true to yourself, save the children, don't sell out - with a heavy-handed touch that better suits her comedy.
We do get stabs at character development, but not much else; these parts are thinner than Shawn Bradley on Slim Fast. Roles and cameos by various members of the hip-hop community - including Fredo Starr and Sticky Fingaz, Snoop Doggy Dog, Doctor Dre and Luther Campbell (who appears as himself in the upcoming Players Club) - make things interesting for the loyal. Fred "Black Caesar" Williamson even pops up in a funny little bit.
One to watch from Ride is
Kellie Williams, who plays a two-timed aspiring singer
named Tuesday. She's known mostly for her role as the
sassy daughter on Family Matters, but her work here -
intense, expressive, perfectly controlled - is proof
positive that every bumpy Ride has its smooth spots.
A Dimension Films release of a Hudlin Bros. production. Produced by Reginald Hudlin, Warren Hudlin. Executive producers, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Cary Granat. Co-producer, S. Bryan Hickox.
Directed, written by Millicent Shelton. Camera (Deluxe color), Frank Byers; editor, Earl Watson; music, Dunn Pearson Jr.; music supervisors, Bill Stephney, Byron Phillips; production designer, Bryan Jones; art director, Vera Mills; set decorators, Rick Ambroise, Cynthia Wiggington; costume designer, Richard Owings; sound, Brasher Sound; assistant director Van Hayden; casting, Eileen Mack Knight. Reviewed at the Beverly Connection, L.A., March 26,1998. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 83 MIN.
A road comedy from the producers of "House Party," "Ride" offsets its predictable storyline with a few genuinely funny bits of dialogue and some earnest performances. Propelled by the popular artists on its rap and hip-hop soundtrack, "Ride" should score with young urban audiences, even if crossover and international prospects are slight. Ancillary cable and video outlook is solid.
Story finds New Yorker Leta (Melissa De Sousa), an aspiring director just out of film school, accepting her first job as an assistant to musicvideo helmer Bleau Kelly. (MTV's Downtown Julie Brown). Assembling a group of young street talents for an upcoming video to be shot in Florida, Leta makes her first trip to Harlem and finds more than she bargained for.
An inner-city activist named Poppa (Malik Yoba) introduces Leta to the undisciplined bunch of would-be artists. They include up-and-coming rapper Brotha (Sticky Fingaz) and his jilted girlfriend, Tuesday (Kellie Williams); her singing partner, Blacke (Julia Garrison); interracial rappers Casper (Reuben Asher) and Indigo (Guy Torrey); sexy Latina starlet Charity (Idalis de Leon): and troublemaking teen Geronimo (Fredro Starr).
The trip has barely begun when some unexpected problems arise: Their chartered ride to Miami turns out to be a foul-smelling, run-down jalopy of a bus that hasn't had an oil change since the Johnson administration. Worse, a couple of gangstas named Peaches (The Lady of Rage) and Bird (Dartanyan Edmonds) are out to get Gerommo, guns in hand.
On the trip to Florida, the passengers get acquainted. Between bits of bathroom humor, they bond and break up; some make cat-calls while others cat-fight. Much of this takes place with a disarming, self-reflexive awareness of popular culture that pervades the dialogue. Advising an unruly passenger to cooperate with others, his friend asks, "Didn't you learn anything from the Million Man March?"
Its witticisms notwithstanding, writer-director Millicent Shelton's script treads familiar road-movie territory, including barroom brawls and narrow escapes. Nevertheless, "Ride" is technically well above average.
Richard Owings' bright, colorful Costumes effectively complement Bryan Jones' production design and firmly underscore pic's comedic tone; Frank Byers' straightforward lensing does same. Thesping is adequate all around, with kudos especially due Williams as the cast-off lover Tuesday and Yoba as the sensible, world-weary Poppa. Snoop Doggy Dogg makes a noteworthy cameo appearance.
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