Friday, May 6, 2022

Along for the Ride: Movie Review

Light-weight drama and slow-burn romance.
A coming-of-age teen romantic drama that’s about finding yourself, Along for the Ride survives on the strength of its lead character. Auden (Emma Pasarow) is a smart girl, but not implausibly smart; she’s shy, but not so shy that she won’t at least try to hang out; she knows herself well enough that she likes being the smart un-cool girl, but now she’s trying to change herself to make friends, to fall in love.   2022

Directed by: Sofia Alvarez

Screenplay by: Sofia Alvarez
Based on the novel by Sarah Dressen

Starring: Emma Pasarow, Belmont Cameli

Set during the most common time for teen movies to be set – it’s the summer after high school before college begins. I don’t blame movies for over-using this period of time, it really is the most ideal time for a finding yourself tale of love and friendship. And Auden is perfect for such a movie. She is so easy to connect to – no matter how different your life may be, there’s going to be some aspect of her that you relate to. And of course you’re cheering for her to blow off the hot cool guy (he refers to himself as “The Jake”) and hoping she hooks up with the hot loner guy – Eli (Belmont Cameli). You didn’t expect anything else did you? Predictability within this genre is not a downfall. It’s popular because it works. It’s a fun movie with cute people coming to terms with their emotional issues.

ALONG FOR THE RIDE (2022), Belmont Cameli as Eli & Emma Pasarow as Auden.
Cr: Emily V. Aragones / Netflix.

This is Emma Pasarow’s feature film debut. Auden is written so well that it’s not hard to shine in this role. Belmont Cameli is from the new Saved by the Bell reboot, and what I like about him here is that he fits the role well without having to overplay his looks. There’s more to these characters than just being hot, even the romance is downplayed; it’s more about Auden and Eli learning what makes them comfortable and how to get out of their shells.

For the Gen-Xers in the audience, we have Andie MacDowell as Auden’s mother, an English and Sociolinguistics professor; Dermot Mulroney as Auden’s father, a highbrow novelist (of course they’re divorced); and Kate Bosworth as Auden’s step-mother, a new-mom and girly boutique owner. Auden’s mother provides most of the comedy. Even before the movie tells us, we know that Auden is named after W.H. Auden – we only have to spend one scene with her parents to know exactly what they were like in the late 90s.

Things come very easily. The potential mean girls become genuine friends very quickly, Auden’s boy dilemmas also get resolved very quickly, and there’s a mini golf-course that’s open 24 hours (?). The obstacles are minimal – on Auden’s side all in her head, and on Eli’s side it’s just past grief which of course Auden helps him get over. As far as teen movies go, it’s nice having more realistic drama even if it does lower the stakes. Along for the Ride is cute with really good lead characters, a slow-burn romance and minimal drama. It’s light weight but also a nice watch – perhaps perfect for those end of high school before college begins summer nights.

Similar Titles:

  The Mystery of Her - Sweet and uncomplicated.

  Summer of 8 - A slow and reflective end of summer.

  The Kissing Booth - Familiar but likable rom-com.

  The Kissing Booth 2 - More kissing booth: more of everything.

  The Kissing Booth 3 - Unpleasant, unromantic and not fun.