Home Video: Free Ride

free-ride-poster01

BY ASHLEY KOWALEWSKI

I wanted to like this movie–I really, really did. I tried oh so hard to enjoy this. I like Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse in the sexy vamp show True Blood, but as far as I’m concerned, she’s just not that great an actress in any other capacity. Perhaps her film acting heyday was only limited to her role in She’s All That and playing Rogue in the X-Men franchise.

The movie starts with Paquin’s character Christina getting the crap beaten out of her by her boyfriend while her two children stand by watching in terror (I’m still unsure if this guy was their father as it’s never really clarified). Afterwards she calls her friend Sandy, played by Drea de Matteo (some of you may know her as Wendy from Sons of Anarchy–to me she will forever be Adriana from The Sopranos), who promises her a job and a place to stay, so Christina hauls her two daughters (moody 15-year-old MJ and kid sister Shell) down to Florida from Ohio to start her new life with her girls.

Upon arriving in Florida, Christina’s job is to clean houses until Sandy’s “Bossman” thinks that she’s ready for the next step, which is drug trafficking (good step in the right direction, Mom). After impressing the Bossman with her dusting skills, she’s finally allowed to run an op where she rents a boat from someone and heads out to international waters with a team (including Ray, whom she starts to warm up to) to meet up with another boat, load theirs up with enough weed to fry even Bob Marley’s mind and then bring it back to the Bossman. After dabbling with a bit of coke, getting mixed up with some of the wrong people and continuing her gone-for-two-days-while-leaving-the-kids-at-home stretches, things become a bit more heated with Sandy and Bossman’s right-hand “Captain” run away together, leaving every one of the worker bees on edge.

One night when Christina is getting ready to head out for a job, her blow-snorting friend Marie offers her tickets to a rock concert, but when she can’t go, her daughter begs to let her go instead. Reluctantly, she agrees. After trying dope for the first time and getting a small dose of the groupie life, MJ finds herself being driven home by a high and very angry Marie, only to end up in a car accident that leaves her pretty banged up. We never really find out what happens to Marie–I assume she dies, but that’s just another one of those questions left unanswered. Once Christina heads to the hospital to see her daughter, she apologizes and they reconnect and all that, only to get arrested in the next frame for drug smuggling. The captions show that she was sentenced to 15 years, but only served one after a team of expert lawyers donated by an anonymous source (Bossman? Sandy and Captain? Ray?) worked their magic and got her out. The movie concludes with Christina reunited with her daughters and back in Ohio and everything is all good in the hood.

Like I said, I really, really, reeeeeeally wanted to like this movie. I’d heard that it was produced by Stephen Moyer (Paquin’s real-life husband and on-screen love interest, Bill Compton) and was based on a true story, and that really intrigued me, but alas, this movie was disjointed and confusing at moments and had they added a bit more to the 90-minute runtime (though apparently their budget was minimal, and perhaps that’s why they didn’t), I feel like it could have been a bit more coherent. Also, it was labeled as a thriller, and based on the trailer, you thought there was going to be more action and suspense. Totally disappointed in that regard.

The redeeming quality for me was to find out at the end of the flick in the finishing captions that the movie was in fact written and directed by the real younger sister of this parent of the year. It’s a cool (strange?) concept for a kid to grow up and make a movie about their drug-trafficking mother.

C
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDXwY8yGr1Y]
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