Along for the Ride follows Auden on her journey to discover herself as she meets Eli who’s himself having a rough time moving on from his tragic past.
Auden (Emma Pasarow) is always at the top of her class and not a socialite when it comes to mingling well with her classmates. She’s not the life of the party.
She is ready for college and before setting out for that adventure, she plans to head to Colby to spend some bonding time with her father Robert (Dermot Mulroney) and stepmom Heidi (Kate Bosworth).
Once there, she finds out that everything is not going according to her plan. Her father is not a family person and her stepmom suffers a lot thanks to her father’s indifference. Her mother Victoria is uppity in her ways and Auden has some remarkable resemblance with her mother in that department.
As she settles into the carefree ways of Colby, she comes across another loner like her, Eli (Belmont Cameli). But unlike Auden, Eli has chosen the path less taken for himself by choice.
The summer at Colby turns into a revelation for Auden as she tackles small but significant battles on many fronts. Add to that her insecurities and it just becomes harder for Auden.
With friends and family, Auden realises a thing or two that transforms her life completely.
Emma Pasarow stirs a decent performance that’s both likeable and charming at moments. The actor makes her character relatable and fun to watch.
Belmont Cameli has both the looks and the charm of the character. In the sunny moments of the film, he’s smooth, but it’s where the film gets a little gloomy that he fails to make a really strong emotional impact with his performance.
Laura Kariuki, Genevieve Hannelius, and Samia Finnerty add a fun element to the film with their somewhat weird antics. They present enjoyable performances.
Dermot Mulroney and Andie MacDowell do not impress while Kate Bosworth still redeems herself in some limited fashion. Some credit must also belong to the flat writing their characters receive.
The makers tread a very safe line to achieve a decently entertaining and enjoyable film. There’s a blend of romance, familial trauma, personal loss, friendship, and social bonding which eventually come together to form a fun young adult rom-com drama.
The makers successfully create an enjoyable world with the setting of Colby.
The glistening beaches, moonlight sky, and the small-town vibe all evoke a special charm with significant contribution by the characters who are retrofitted for such a setting. The setting provides ample opportunities for some beautiful nature shots.
All the characters are unique with their schticks providing the story with an ample amount of fun moments where the simplistic life of Colby is captured quite simply with ease.
The characters, while fun, are not explored very well by the writers. Their arcs are flat and it feels unsatisfying that the viewers are not allowed the privilege of knowing the characters closely.
The conflict is somehow toned down for reasons unknown.
The potential for possible conflict is not explored with vigour resulting in situations where it becomes difficult to reach out to the characters. The handling of conflict is unimpressive and feels too casual. The emotional impact of the film falls short and even the really tense moments do not feel strong enough.
The film falls into all the traps of the genre purposefully. The tropes followed are quite characteristic of the young adult rom-com genre and fail to present anything novel.
It’s a decent feel-good drama which does not take any risks and tries to serve the story in a simple easily consumable fashion. If anything, the film is at par with the standards of the genre and can easily qualify for a light-hearted watch with friends and family. To expect anything more is criminal.