Sarah has spent four years in an isolating and unhealthy relationship with Chris, neglecting almost every other relationship and interest in her life. But when her boyfriend abruptly breaks up with her, she finds herself blindsided and devastated.
She reaches out to her friend Megan, who promptly urges Sarah to meet her out on the town. Her now-ex offers to get her an Uber ride to meet Megan — which turns into a journey to truly set Sarah free from the shackles of her dissatisfying relationship.
Directed by April Moreau from a script co-written with Emily Hanley (who also plays Megan), this short road trip comedy has a raucous, vibrant energy, feeling like a shot of adrenaline and mischief for both viewers and Sarah. Full of the types of riotous hijinks and oddball characters that power films like The Hangover and Bridesmaids, it veers from one misadventure to the next, while never forgetting the emotional journey of its main character.
With its polished cinematography, dynamic camerawork and gleaming sense of color and light, the film has the look and polish of a blockbuster, and in the same way, its humor is broad and bold. Its writing takes big swings, with plenty of one-liners, gags and elaborate set-ups, and its pacing zips from one development to the next. Its characters are not afraid to be outrageous, which is all part of the wild ride.
But at its heart, it’s a story about friendship, camaraderie and solidarity, exploring the relatable situation of re-establishing friendships after coming out of a consuming friendship, and the narrative’s more emotional moments balance out the comedy well. It is honest about Sarah’s fear and embarrassment that she lost herself in what turned out to be a toxic relationship, and she is trying to grapple with what it means and says about her.
But the story also celebrates the value of true friendship, which is there for us even when we neglect it. Actors Mandie Cheung as Sarah and Hanley as Megan have a rapport that is both sweetly affectionate and wildly raucous, and they’re supported by their sometimes hapless Uber driver, J.R., played with actor Eric M. Myrick with nerdy charm. Through their friendship (and a few cathartic adventures), Sarah achieves an openness and honesty about her feelings and her past. In doing so, she rediscovers her zest for life once again.
“Ride In Progress” is an ambitious comedy short in how it attempts to tackle a large emotional arc, and while the film makes for a satisfying experience in and of itself, it’s a testament to the writing’s cleverness and emotional substance that its relationships and characters beg for more exploration. Underneath the antics and lightning-quick narrative pace, there’s genuine pain to unravel, as well as the real, heartwarming affection and loyalty of a friend who is there for you, no matter what or for how long you’ve been away.