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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 79:31)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English, English - Hearing Impaired, Hindi
  • Teaser trailer
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Drew Barrymore
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • 4 Featurette
  • Animated menus
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Awards/Nominations
  • Filmographies

Riding in Cars With Boys

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 126 mins . M15+ . PAL


Riding in Cars with Boys is the true story of a teenage girl in the sixties obsessed with boys and her dreams and plans for her life ahead. These dreams and plans are thrown into disarray when she falls pregnant. This is a touching and extremely humorous story spanning twenty five years. Based on the memoirs of Beverly Donofrio (Drew Barrymore) and directed by Penny Marshall, this tale of life as a teenage mother and the stigma attached to that in the sixties is well told. Drew Barrymore, in the lead role of Bev, shows a lot more versatility than she has in previous roles, and is supported well by a fine cast. Australian actor Adam Garcia (Bootmen, Coyote Ugly) plays her son Jason with James Woods in the role of her father. The other character of note is Fay (Brittany Murphy), Bev’s best friend and the main instigator of some of the funnier scenes. The entire cast is very well placed in their respective roles but it’s Barrymore that dominates here. I did have some trouble believing her as a woman of thirty six, but perhaps that is just preconceptions of her from other roles. If you can overcme this, she is very convincing.

We join the story with Beverly as a ten year old girl enjoying a drive with her father. When he asks her what she would like for Christmas, she tells him she would like a bra. From here we can see the obvious interest Bev has in boys. Skip ahead five years to when Bev meets Ray (Steve Zahn) and all of a sudden she is pregnant, something that happens from parking in cars rather than riding in them. As expected, the family, particularly her father, is not too pleased. Bev and Ray decide to get married and begin their lives as a family with their new baby boy.

"One day can make your life. One day can ruin your life. All life is is four or five big days that change everything."

The story from then on looks at how Bev tries to fulfil her dreams of going to college and becoming a writer while trying to be a good mother, failing at both. Blaming her son and deadbeat husband for her tortured existence but never blaming herself, she is forced to handle all the things life can throw at her. This story is not that out of the ordinary and I would dare to say it was quite common in sixties America, but the way this story is told is different. Constant obstacles are thrown up to dampen the spirits of Bev but she fights on, never losing her humour and determination and eventually coming to the realisation that she has achieved a great deal.


Presented in 1.85:1 and 16x9 enhanced, there isn’t a lot wrong with this transfer. Although a little grainy in some parts, overall the quality here is extremely good. The layer change is placed at 79.31, between scenes and is not obtrusive. Picture quality is very sharp with no noticeable colour bleeding or saturation, colours are generally deep and used well to set the scene for each period. Shading is also high quality and hard to find fault with. There is no aliasing to speak of and film artifacts are minimal.


There's not a lot to choose from between the Dolby Digital stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks here, the stereo option being the commentary soundtrack. The DD 5.1 is used minimally with very little usage of the rear speakers, this works well though as it keeps the focus on the front speakers where it needs to be. A great soundtrack from Hans Zimmer along with songs from the ’60s to the ’90s set the mood well in each scene, I found myself singing along far too often.


Commentary from Drew Barrymore gives an in-depth view on what was involved in the making of this film. Barrymore’s voice can get a little annoying, but if you can get past her “valley girl” accent it is quite insightful.

Featurette - Drew’s Trailer Tour runs for 4:30 and is basically an interview with Barrymore in her trailer (but you knew that), talking about her role and the history of the character she is playing.

Featurette - Bev & Ray’s House: Recreating Reality runs for 3:33 and shows how the house and neighbourhood were created and used for filming scenes on location.

Featurette - The Cars runs for 3:11 and is, as it implies, about the cars used in the film. Something for the petrol heads.

Featurette - Bev & Jason: Sons & Lovers runs for 5:46 and tells of the relationship between Bev and Jason, both in the past and during present day. The term "therapy" is used a lot.

Featurette - HBO The Making of Special runs for 22:01 and is made up of parts of the other featurettes along with additional footage and interviews covering the whole process of making the film.

All the featurettes are brief, but give a great behind the scenes view. Most cast members, crew and Bev and Jason themselves discuss varying aspects of how this film made it to the big screen. Mostly enjoyable and informative viewing.

Theatrical Trailers includes the trailers for Riding in Cars With Boys, A League of Their Own, Hanging Up and Stepmom. All are presented in 1.85:1 and DD Stereo


Lovers of feel good movies will truly enjoy this one. A good story with some very funny moments and few scenes that require the tissue box to be raided. Running at 125.43 and packed with behind the scenes extras, this is definitely a value for money buy. Considering this film is over two hours long, it was never boring, something can certainly be said for that these days.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1471
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      And I quote...
    "She could have had it all. Instead she had a son. This is one for the ladies."
    - Adrian Turvey
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