Endlessly accompanied by music circa the settings are one of but of many traits that Penny Marshall’s new movie sloppily microwaves up.Told in flashback with occasion interlards with the two main characters on a driving mission, it’s the story of Beverly D’onofrio (Drew Barrymore) as a 15-year-old who gets pregnant and has her life “ruined” and “dashed” (plans of college, plans of a suitable husband) as she must tend to her child. It plays as melodrama can only be portrayed in self-reflexive writing and memoirs, of which this is adapted from (D’onofrio-though I don’t know if the apostrophe is supposed to be there), meaning overdramatic, unctuous and egotistical. And Barrymore plays it on all of those notes, though less embarrassing as, say, Zahn or James Woods or the children counterparts. Riding in Cars with Boys has a couple tricks up its sleeve, like in the present-end of the story, Bev’s travelling companion is not her boyfriend as it is made to seem, but her son. However, from that point on, Marshall’s hand of cards is completely visible. There is little that is interesting or funny in Beverly’s crusade to get her book published (“Let me quote myself,” she says with hauteur while lecturing her son), and the high school flashbacks are painful and without the impact of Barrymore’s Never Been Kissed. Despite the fusillade setting of the tunes, this is one monotonous and broken record.
With Brittany Murphy and Maggie Gyllenhaal.Final Verdict: D-.