Riding in Cars with Boys

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Director:Penny Marshall
Writer:Morgan Upton Ward
Columbia Pictures; PG-13; 122 minutes
Cast:Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn, Brittany Murphy

Riding in Cars with Boys may be best characterized as the movie in which Drew Barrymore grows up. Not only does she portray real-life writer Beverly Donofrio from her high school days in backwater Connecticut to her mid-thirtysomething years with a son in college, Barrymore also brings the character to life with the depth of a mature actress.

Based on Donofrio's published memoirs, Riding in Cars with Boys provides a tough look at a single mother's struggle to live, love, and write. It's not as gritty as the book (especially the conclusion) but the film provides more dramatic meat than Barrymore has ever been served, and she chews it with gusto. Barrymore is helped along the way by Steve Zahn. He plays the loser-ish high school boy she weds because of an accidental pregnancy. His performance as a sincere underachieving youth growing into an emotionally overwhelmed father almost steals the movie.

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