A night in Los Angeles is about to take a terrible turn for a couple in the feature film directorial debut of Jeremy Ungar.
James is an aspiring actor who works as an Uber driver while in-between acting gigs. On this particular night, he picks up young Jessica, who takes a liking to him. After a wonderful conversation to her destination, she offers for him to join her but he gets called on another ride. However, James decides after the next ride, he will get together with Jessica and enjoy the nightlife.
James’ next ride is Bruno, a somewhat unhinged fellow. However, giving him the benefit of the doubt, James goes along with Bruno, especially when Bruno offers James a hundred dollars to do a Shakespeare monologue. James sees the good in Bruno, who offers to get James and Jessica together for a fun time. James agrees with Bruno’s plan and after reuniting with Jessica, things seem well. That is, until the trio stops at a convenience store and Bruno reveals his true intentions. James and Jessica realize that this is one ride they are going to wish they avoided.
Making his feature film directorial debut is Jeremy Ungar, who is a stage and short film director, who also crafted a story based on some personal experience and an imagination around the world of Uber and Lyft. What makes the film more interesting is that he has only three major characters in the film that start out separate with aspiring actor and driver James as the connection. That is, before the three come together for a ride that becomes regretful for James and the character of Jessica. The film makes the most of its 76-minute run time going from one side of the spectrum to the other.
Jessie T. Usher brings a natural performance as James, our actor/driver, who is the connection to the whole film. When he is seen in separate conversations with Jessica and later Bruno, there is a duality in terms of his comfort level that would be something most drivers would go through. With Jessica, played by Bella Thorne, he gets comfortable with her right away and thanks to Thorne, who also brings a sense of comfort during her solo scenes with Usher, James truly finds himself feeling good. That is, until Bruno comes into the fray.
Will Brill, who is actually friends with director Ungar, is great as the unhinged Bruno. While it is clear he is the villain, Bruno does bring a sense of comic relief to the film. James feels uncomfortable from the getgo, especially where he finds himself being asked to do a Shakespeare monologue. It is when Bruno ups the ante on giving him money that James does it, but then feels a temporary sense of comfort with Bruno. Once Jessica gets involved with the two as a favor to Bruno, who sees a good thing when it comes to James and Jessica, things go from feel good to intense. The intensity is where we see Brill at his best. In one well, call it comic relief, he forces James and Jessica at gunpoint for him to join him in a sing-along to R. Kelly’s “Ignition”.
For this trio, this is one Ride two may want to avoid, but it is one you might enjoy watching for a film that goes from feel good to intense at 55 miles per hour in the City of Angels.
WFG RATING: B
RLJE Films presents a Unified Pictures production in association with Look to the Sky Films. Director: Jeremy Ungar. Producers: Sefton Fincham, Tyler Jackson, and Keith Kjarval. Writer: Jeremy Ungar. Cinematography: Rob Givens. Editing: Kayla Emter.
Cast: Jessie T. Usher, Bella Thorne, Will Brill.