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"RIDE"
(1998) (Melissa DeSousa, Malik Yoba) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor *Minor Heavy *None Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None Heavy Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor None Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: An aspiring music video director and an inner city activist take a group of young street talents on a bus trip from Harlem to Miami to appear in a music video.
PLOT:
Leta Evans (MELISSA DeSOUSA) is an aspiring music video director who's just landed a job working for veteran video director Bleau Kelly (DOWNTOWN JULIE BROWN). Her first assignment is to chaperone a group of young, Harlem street talents on a bus trip from New York to Miami where they'll appear in the latest music video from Freddy B (LUTHER CAMPBELL), a well-known and wealthy Hip Hop star. Joining her is Poppa (MALIK YOBA), an inner city activist and best friend to the music video artist.

Heading out of Harlem on a decrepit charter bus driven by old-timers Roscoe (JOHN WITHERSPOON) and Bo (CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER), the two adults must watch over Brotha X (STICKY FINGAZ), an up and coming rap artist and his "girlfriend" Tuesday (KELLIE WILLIAMS). Also on board are Casper (REUBEN ASHER) and Indigo (GUY TORRY), a black and white rap duo; a sexy model, Charity (IDALIS De LEON); and Geronimo, Poppa's younger brother who's always getting into trouble.

In fact, he's pursued by Peaches (THE LADY OF RAGE) and Byrd (DARTANYAN EDMONDS), an inner-city Bonnie and Clyde type duo who want their stolen money back that he stole from them. As the busload of travelers make their way toward Miami, they must contend with varying obstacles that stand in their way of fame.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast, or of rap/hip hop music, they just might. Preteens, however, will probably have no interest in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For pervasive strong language including sex-related dialogue.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MELISSA DeSOUSA plays an aspiring music video director who wants to make a good impression at her new job, make sure the "kids" with her are all right, and may end up sleeping with Poppa, but that's not for certain.
  • MALIK YOBA plays the father figure on the bus, the guy who tries to keep everything under control that occasionally leads to some violence (hitting others). He also may sleep with Leta, but that's not positive.
  • FREDRO STAR plays a troubled young man who steals some previously stolen money from some thieves and occasionally has a bad attitude toward the others.
  • STICKY FINGAZ plays an up and coming rap artist who has gotten his girlfriend pregnant, treats her badly, and flirts with other women.
  • THE LADY OF RAGE and DARTANYAN EDMONDS play two lowlife thieves who rob stores, carjack vehicles, and shoot at people with their guns.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 1 out of 10
    Much like the real life road trip down Interstate I-95 that it portrays, "Ride" feels much longer than it actually takes to sit through, is rather uneventful and not very funny, and is filled with a group of people who become more annoying as the event wears on. Dimension films must have felt the same way, for they didn't screen this film for the press and beyond some moderate prospects in urban runs, don't expect "Ride's" ride to last very long in the theaters.

    Unlike Spike Lee's cross country bus trip, "Get On The Bus," this film isn't interested in exploring racial issues or politics. Instead, it uses the close quarters of the bus only to cram in several boring vignettes that are supposed to make us laugh, or feel warm and fuzzy inside, but accomplish neither. Granted it's supposed to be a comedy, but considering the dearth of decent films portraying African-Americans in positive roles, it's too bad another one of these hip-hip, sophomoric "comedies" had to be released.

    There area no good explanations about why so few decent, well-made comedies featuring African-Americans are made. Just because it's a comedy doesn't mean it has to be stupid, and while the target audience of a film like this (young, urban youths) might not think about such matters, I'd be incensed if such films were the major representation of my race. Instead of being clever like much of the material that was often found on the TV show "In Living Color," this film tries to force feed lame bits on the audience including hyper, sexually charged characters, some flatulence jokes, and a character who wears a shackle around his neck, Kunta Kinte style.

    Yes, there are a few decent characters in the story, but they're overshadowed by long bits about the bus continually falling apart, an inner city youth being lost in the "scary" woods, and the obligatory barroom brawl scene. Little of it's humorous, and while lowest common denominator material can occasionally be outrageously funny if the limits are really pushed, this film can't even manage that.

    Novice writer/director Millicent Shelton delivers a few decent moments, but isn't stretching her skills very far. Based on her own experiences of being a real-life aspirant for directing feature films who first had to make music videos, the film is a retelling of a parallel story about a bus trip from New York to Miami where things continuously, but comically went wrong. Much like any time someone recounts a personal story, however, it may seem funny to the storyteller, but something's usually lost in the translation and the audience doesn't quite get it. That's the case with this film.

    Performances vary all across the board for this flick. Malik Yoppa ("Copland," ""Cool Runnings") is good in his role as the father/authority figure and usually dominates everyone's attention while on screen. Melissa DeSousa ("Sugar Hill," "Menace II Society") plays the lead character, and while engaging, doesn't bring anything particularly special to the role. Meanwhile, rap artist The Lady of Rage is ludicrously bad as Peaches, the lady gangster, but her part is mostly written that way, so one really can't differentiate between what's character and what's acting. That also goes for most of the rest of the performances, although John Witherspoon's take as a bow-tie wearing, old school of soul, bus driver is occasionally humorous, but never outrageously funny.

    While writer/director Spike Lee often criticizes Hollywood for not making decent movies for African-Americans, perhaps he should have a chat with Vincent who served as his production assistant on "Do The Right Thing." This is a prime example of how not to make a good film -- regardless of what race might be involved. We give "Ride" a 1 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Profanity and sexual talk are the reasons the film received an R rating. More than 50 "f" words and a wide assortment of others and phrases are used throughout the production, and in some of the rap songs. There's a moderate amount of sexual talk, but nothing that's greatly explicit. Some violence occurs (people threatened or shot at with guns, some punches thrown, etc...), but most of it's played for an intended comical effect. Beyond some bad attitudes and some flatulence jokes, that's about it for the major objectionable material. Even so, if you or someone in your home wishes to see this film, we suggest that you look through the content first.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some people are briefly seen drinking in several shots (on the street, in a hotel, etc...).
  • Freddy B and a woman drink champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Although neither bloody nor gory, we do see a man sitting on a toilet on the bus. We see him straining and then hear a variety of gastrointestinal sounds. Then not only do we see him react to the smell, but others do as well.
  • Later, everyone scampers off the bus after one of the women evidently has some flatulence problems (that we hear).
  • We hear Peaches urinating as she stands at a urinal in the men's room.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Bleu has a conceited attitude toward others, and is mean to Leta at the end.
  • Peaches and Byrd rob a store at gunpoint. Later, Geronimo steals the stolen money from them.
  • Brother has both as not only has he made Tuesday pregnant, but he claims that it isn't his, plus he flirts with the other women.
  • A guy tries to reach between the bus seats and feel a woman's crotch, but she stops him.
  • A woman slyly opens a box of donuts in a store and takes a bite from one of them.
  • Peaches and Byrd carjack several different people at gunpoint (not entirely seen, but heavily implied).
  • Freddy B is a womanizer and sleeps with a woman who believed he was going to help her and her career.
  • Some may see Tuesday's brief comment that she's going to take care of her pregnancy (assumed to be abortion comment) as having both.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Although there's some violence, it's all played in a comical/non-suspenseful way.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Shotgun: Used by Peaches and Byrd in various scenes to threaten or shoot at others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Byrd leans out of the truck they've stolen and fires his gun into the air several times, but then accidentally drops it onto the highway.
  • Switchblade: Brought out by Byrd, but never used.
  • Rifle: Carried by a southern hunter.
  • Handgun: Aimed by a cop at Peaches and Byrd.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Shut the 'f' up," "Bang," "Bone" and "Horny" (all sexual), "Bitch" (used several times toward women), "D*cknosed," "Nigger" (said by black people toward other black people), "Jacksh*t," "Punk ass," "Punk," "Shut up," "Faggot" and "Dyke," "Chump," "Jerk," "Piss," "Pissed," "Balls" (testicles) and "Bastards."
  • Geronimo gives Peaches and Byrd "the finger" and then grabs his crotch while taunting them.
  • Geronimo catches a ride on the back of the bus on his skateboard.
  • Peaches and Byrd carjack several different people at gunpoint (not entirely seen, but heavily implied).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • There are several rap songs throughout the production that include uses of the "f" word (used with "mother"), the "s" word, a slang term for female genitals (the "p" word), hell, and the words "Bitch" and "Nigger."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 56 "f" words (22 used with "mother" and 4 used sexually), 38 "s" words, 6 slang terms for female genitals (the "p" word, along with "hootchie" and "poontang"), 4 slang terms for male genitals (the "d" word, along with "ding-a-ling"), 46 asses (1 using "hole"), 17 damns, 11 hells, 2 craps, 1 S.O.B., and 1 use of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A woman shows some cleavage in the dress she's wearing.
  • There's a comment that Brother will drop his pants anytime a lady walks by.
  • Upon first meeting Leta, the guys grab her bag and go through it, and find a condom. One of them then reads the label, stating that it's ribbed for her pleasure.
  • We see some of Peaches' cleavage in her bra as she appears to be changing clothes in their car.
  • Roscoe and Bo tell the group that there will be no "sexing each other up," "freakin' each other down," and "no bang, bang, banging" on their bus.
  • Brother tells Tuesday that they should go into the bus' bathroom (to have sex) and then says that when they get to the hotel he's going to "bang your back out" (have sex).
  • Tuesday asks Leta (who has just announced that she's happy not to have a boyfriend), "Don't you ever get horny?" Leta replies, "Hell yeah."
  • A woman on the bus shows some cleavage in the outfit she's wearing.
  • As Roscoe has a hard time putting a chain through a hole in the bus, he says, "I can't get it in the hole." Bo then replies, "That's why you're still single, boy."
  • Brother holds Charity's butt as she sleeps on his lap (he's asleep as well).
  • There are some mock comments about Peaches having a penis (Byrd commenting on a roll of quarters in her pants, etc...) after we see and hear her urinating standing up at a urinal.
  • Leta shows a little cleavage in her tank top and later again in a dress.
  • Freddy B tells another man (about an idea) as two women walk by them, "We'll get into that later. That's (the women) what we need to plant our seeds into right now."
  • Tuesday finds out she's pregnant from Brother (who says, "Why are you telling me? I pulled out every time").
  • We briefly see part of a passing woman's bare butt in her fishnet stockings and thong-like bottom.
  • Freddy B brings a woman into his bedroom and turns on a porno tape on the TV. We hear moaning sounds and see the man (on the tape) put his head between a woman's (clothed) breasts. It's then implied that Freddy B and this woman have sex.
  • Leta and Poppa may have had sex (they spent the night on the beach), but that's not for sure. When she returns to her hotel room the next morning, however, everyone there gives her a hard time and asks if she used a condom.
  • Bleu asks Charity if she did something "...while you were sucking his (Freddy B's) d*ck?"
  • Charity wears a rather skimpy bikini.
  • At the end in the tack on "whatever happened to credits" it states that Leta finally directed a porno film called "Ride This."
  • SMOKING
  • We briefly see people in the background smoke.
  • Bo holds or smokes a cigar.
  • Peaches smokes a cigarette while Byrd smokes a cigar.
  • A woman in a store smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Pursuing one's dream -- that's what many of these characters are doing.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Peaches and Byrd rob a store at gunpoint. Byrd then aims his gun at Geronimo (who unknowingly has become the getaway driver) and Peaches aims her gun at the store merchant who runs out to their car.
  • Peaches chases after and catches Geronimo (who has her stolen money). She then punches him and tries to shoot him, but her gun jams. He then runs off and hops on the bus as she finally gets off a shoot that hits the back of the bus (all done in a comic fashion).
  • Peaches and Byrd nearly run over a construction site worker in their car.
  • Peaches and Byrd carjack several different people at gunpoint (not entirely seen, but heavily implied).
  • Tuesday and Charity get into a brief fight (some swipes taken at each other, but they're quickly separate) over Brother.
  • The bus crashes into a vehicle (stolen by Peaches and Byrd) that then explodes.
  • Poppa punches a troublemaker (Snoop Doggy Dogg) and a barroom brawl then breaks out. Chairs and bottles are broken over people's backs and heads, and others are punched or kicked.
  • Peaches and Byrd show up and she fires a shotgun into the ceiling and then aims it at everyone else. A police officer finally shows up and arrests her and Byrd.
  • After she tells him that she's pregnant and that he's the father, Brother briefly pushes Tuesday. She then repeatedly pushes him until he lands in a swimming pool.



  • Reviewed March 31, 1998

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