I stared at Adele Lim‘s Joy Ride (aka Joy Fuck Club) like an Egyptian sphinx. I was honestly hoping to laugh but I didn’t. At all. I just fucking sat there…sorry. I seem to recall having the same reaction to the Hangover movies. I hate movies about people drinking shots. I really do.

Others in the audience laughed, however, so there’s that. High-pitched hyena laughter, I mean. And certain critics have called it funny. So blame me….it’s my fault that I didn’t so much as smirk or guffaw or even crack a smile.

Actually, that’s not true — I smirked at the sex scenes. Particularly an oral sex scene with two guys eating out Ashley Park‘s character at the same time, and I don’t mean one of them licking her anus while the other does the clitoris…I mean both of them chowing down side by side. That I laughed at.

And I did respect much of what I was watching. Joy Ride is not some sloppy-ass, improvisational bullshit anarchy comedy like…I don’t know, What’s New Pussycat or something. It’s a real movie with a sense of structure and three acts and an aspirational heart. It emotionally touches bottom during the last 20 or 25 minutes.

And I respected the decisive, highly sprung energy…the shallow but spritzy feel of it…the lively performances…Lim’s fast-paced, high-velocity direction…the screwballish, His Girl Friday-like script by Cherry Cheva (aka Chevapravatdumrong) and Teresa Hsiao. It’s really not bad.

It’s silly and shallow and formulaic but comedies like this are expected to dive into this kind of jaundiced fuckwad swimming pool.

I didn’t much care for Sabrina Wu‘s “Deadeye”, the obligatory trans-non-binary character with (not a pun) slightly dead eyes, but I pretty much loved the other three — Park’s “Audrey Sullivan”, a lawyer and an allegedly Chinese child of adoptive white parents who lives in White Hills, Washington (there has never been any town or village or real-estate district in the world called White Hills…a completely bullshit and thoroughly racist name of a cliched Anglo hamlet), Sherry Cola‘s “Lolo Chen”, and Stephanie Hsu‘s Kat.

And I really loved Daniel Dae Kim, who plays the husband of Audrey’s birth mother.

Much of Joy Ride feels inhabited by at least a semblance of recognizable human behavior. Not actual human behavior, mind, as it adheres to the rules of farce, but at least it tries to go there now and then. I respected that effort.

Don’t let the fact that I smirked at only one scene and sat stone-faced throughout the rest of it….don’t let that stop you from giving it a whirl.

The first two thirds to three-quarters of Joy Ride made me feel like my life is winding to a close and that perhaps I need to think about killing myself, but I gradually got past that. What matters, I think, is that it pays off during the final 20 or 25.