Joy Ride

John Dahl’s undeserved reputation as a neonoir master should be revised. He simply has a slick way of handling nastiness and crueltythough at some point in this endless thriller the suspense turns into an extremely unpleasant ordeal that he doesn’t know when to stop. Another of those school-break movies, this shows what happens when a couple of brothers (Steve Zahn and Paul Walker) on the road play a CB prank on a horny truckera virtually unseen character throughoutgetting him so mean and ornery that the payback seems to go on for years. The movie entertains fantasies about mangling Leelee Sobieskiwho belatedly joins the cross-country trekthat aren’t much fun either. Written by Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams. 98 min. (JR)

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