Riding In Cars With Boys
Drew Barrymore plays a young mother in this true-life drama the actress also produced.
Beverly Donofrio (Barrymore) is a young girl in the 60s whose mother always warned her against the titular action. But despite her best efforts, Donofrio she winds up pregnant at 15.
Beverly faces stern disapproval from her mother and father (played by The Sopranos' Lorraine Bracco and Oscar nominee James Woods) who make her quit school and marry the baby's father, Ray (Steve Zahn, in top form).
But Beverly's dream is to go to college, and she struggles through her life with raising her son, often alone thanks to Ray's heroin problem, and her resentment towards her son for derailing her life. Beverly receives constant support from her best friend Fay (Just Married's Brittany Murphy).
The film flashes back from Beverly's adult life after she has published her memoirs, where her adult son is now played by Aussie Adam Garcia (Bootmen, Coyote Ugly).
Riding In Cars With Boys was something of a pet project for Barrymore, who shepherded the film through production. The real Beverly Donofrio is credited as a co-producer on the film.
"Most of her problems came from her family," says Barrymore of Donofrio. "I can relate to that. Families are always painful for people to be honest about. Doing this movie was a really good opportunity for me to get in touch with all the realities of my own family that I've sort of repressed."
The rights to Donofrio's book were secured by legendary Oscar-winning director and producer James L. Brooks (Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment) in 1989, who at the time eyed Debra Winger or Cher for the lead.
But the project remained dormant for a decade until Barrymore and director Penny Marshall (Big, Laverne from Laverne and Shirley) got the film into production.
The film's mixture of stark drama and light comedy is at times awkward, but is carried along by the strong performances from all the leads.