“Awwww! Some of it got into my mouth!” says Beverly D’Onofrio (played by Drew Barrymore), as her son urinates up in the air while she’s changing his diaper in the new movie “Riding in Cars With Boys.” This is a perfect scene from the film to illustrate the film’s theme of showing both the real side of life and and how funny things that life can be when one stands back to take a look at it.
Young D’Onofrio becomes impregnated at the age of fifteen by a guy who will never ever be mistaken for a genius. Talk about an unsuccessful outing at a party! Her police officer father (played by James Woods) is disappointed beyond belief at how his smartest daughter wound up in this predicament. To try and make amends, she agrees under pressure to marry the loser father of her baby.
At the wedding, no one speaks to Beverly, and she confides this to her best friend Faye (played by Brittany Murphy). Faye stands up and proclaims that if everyone isn’t going to talk to Beverly, then they should not bother speaking to her either because she is also pregnant. See how many jaws hit the table!
Life goes on for Beverly, as she tries very hard to get a scholarship and go to college, only to have her dreams dashed by her husband’s complete lack of responsibility. Eventually, life gets better as Beverly and her husband decide that his heroin addiction will tear the family apart. It is a sad thing for Jason to see his father leave.
Barrymore gives a great performance, but the best acting award in this film must go to Steve Zahn, who plays the adult Jason, because his character is so truthful. He is the epitome of every young boy who grew up without a father. He has, however, made it to the point where his mother proclaims him “the most normal person I know.”
Director Penny Marshall has made this film very real at depicting a young girl who is by far to intellectual to have so many bad things happen to her. Based on the book by the real life D’Onofrio, this movie shows how Beverly grows up, and takes the audience with it.
I give it four dropped jaws out of five.