Auden (Emma Pasarow), in a move that is 51% logical, turns down an internship that her mother (Andie McDowell) offered her. And, for the summer between high school and university, she decides to move in with her dad (Dermot Mulroney). He lives with her stepmother Heidi (Kate Beckinsale) in some beach town, Cody. Since this paragraph is where I bring the adult cast up, great work, no notes.
Anyway, in Cody, Heidi owns a shop and hires girls Auden’s age. These girls take a break at 6 when they dance to Sean Paul and Troye Sivan songs. It requires tons on convincing for me to believe that 17 and 18 year old girls still dance to Sean Paul. Even if yes, as a mid millennial, Sean Paul’s hits from 20 years ago are still good today. Anyway, this summer has Auden dealing with family drama, work drama, and of course, boy drama. And Along for the Ride deals with all of those conflicts in various degrees of seriousness.
Along for the Ride is the less offensive of the two Netflix movie releases this month. I already did a short State of the Nation Address about Netflix in another movie that the service released last month. So I’m not going to do one today. The existence of this movie is a curious thing, especially for someone who isn’t in the movie’s target market. This feels like a resume filler for its young cast.
This is especially true for Pasarow who looks short enough that she has a few years left to play a teen. I compared the way she looks here with what she posts on her Instagram. And the movie seems like it’s making her look older. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since she looks and acts here like viewers are anticipating what kind of better roles she’ll get soon. There’s also the same potential in Maggie (Laura Kariuki), who plays Heidi’s employee who becomes Auden’s enemy turned nuanced Black best friend.
Adapting a YA source material as a movie, both through direction and through her script, is Sofia Alvarez, who also adapted the To All The Boys books as a screenwriter. There are some good shots here, especially in the beginning. Auden’s love interest Eli (Belmont Cameli) would not have been my type after graduating high school. But Along For The Ride shoots him as if it’s justifying, successfully, why secular boys don’t cut their hair.
Full disclosure, this movie is enough to keep me awake even after taking melatonin, but maybe that legal drug made me see through lines from this to Rohmer’s later beachy, youthful work. That comparison can only do this movie enough favours though. That’s because a lot of this feels old school without giving viewers actual, effective nostalgia. Also, couldn’t care less about the romance plot, which is bad because that’s the movie’s A plot.
- Release Date: 5/6/2022