Producers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Josh Fagen, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, Teresa Hsiao and Adele Lim   Director: Adele Lim    Screenplay: Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao   Cast: Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu, Sabrina Wu, Ronny Chieng, Meredith Hagner, David Denman, Annie Mumolo, Desmond Chiam, Isla Rose Hall, Chloe Pun, Miranda Wan, Lennon Yee, Lori Tan Chinn, Baron Davis, Alexander Hodge, Chris Pang, Rohan Arora, Victor Lau, Paul Cheng, Johnny Wu and Timothy Simons   Distributor: Lionsgate

Grade: C+

The amount of enjoyment you’ll get out of Adele Lim’s debut feature will depend on your tolerance for comedy that’s unabashedly crude and vulgar.  “Joy Ride” is a trip of the “Hangover” variety, in which a disparate bunch of friends go through a series of raunchy, raucous adventures together.  The difference lies in the fact that they’re women rather than men, and for good measure, Asian women; so reflections of “Bridesmaids,” “Rough Night,” “Girls Trip” and “Crazy Rich Asians” are all thrown into the mix.  Many viewers will find the result uproarious; some will be more queasy, longing for the days when humor meant wit and style rather than blunderbuss coarseness.

The premise: Audrey, who was adopted by the Sullivans (David Denman and Annie Mumolo), and Lolo (Sherry Cola), the daughter of the Chens (Kenneth Liu and Debbie Fan), have been best friends since they were five, when they met at a playground in the aptly-named White Falls, Washington, and pugnacious Lolo (Miranda Wan) clobbered a kid who insulted them, much to shy Audrey’s (Lennon Yee) astonishment and admiration.  Quickly sprinting through their adolescence (with Chloe Pun as Lolo and Isla Rose Hall as Audrey at age 12), the movie winds up in the present, where they remain BFFs, though reserved, businesslike Audrey is a corporate lawyer and voluble free-spirit Lolo lives in a garage apartment, sculpting subversive artwork with bodily allusions that makes most viewers blanch while occasionally helping out at her folks’ restaurant.

Audrey’s colleagues don’t realize that throwing her a Mulan-theme birthday party is no compliment, but she embraces an assignment that will take her to Beijing to close a big deal that could lift her to a spot up the ladder at the firm’s L.A. headquarters.  The problem is that though they think she’s fluent in Mandarin, she’s not, so she invites Lolo to come along to translate.  Lolo happily agrees, though at the airport Audrey finds that a third party will be joining them—Lolo’s sad-sack cousin Deadeye (Sabrina Wu), who wants desperately to be accepted as one of the crew, which is completed when the trio meet up in China with Audrey’s college roommate Kat (Stephanie Hsu), now a star of TV costume dramas in which she shares the screen with hunky leading man Clarence (Desmond Chiam), who also happens to be her fiancé. 

When it comes time for Audrey to sit down with Chao (Ronny Chieng), the businessman she’s to negotiate with, he turns out to be a hedonist who takes them to a drug-and-alcohol-fueled bacchanal at a glitzy club, and eventually learns that Audrey doesn’t know her Chinese roots—a sticking-point for him.  Luckily Lolo had already been pressing Audrey to take the opportunity to search out her birth mother, and made preliminary inquiries; and so the four women are off to find her.

The trip, of course, goes haywire quickly as the quartet encounter Jess (Meredith Hagner), a frazzled American who turns out to be a drug dealer, on the train, and are tossed off in the middle of nowhere, sans luggage or passports, by a cop (Paul Cheng) who doesn’t want to bother with them.  But they quickly link up—in rather intimate ways—with a traveling Chinese National Basketball team consisting of American Baron Jones and teammates of varied nationalities (Alexander Hodge, Chris Pang, Rohan Arora and Victor Lau).  After that they make their way to a reunion at Lolo and Deadeye’s relatives, where petite but intense Grandma Chen (Lori Tan Chinn) reacts acerbically to news about where the search for Audrey’s parents has led.  Getting there requires a madcap imposture in which the women pretend to be a K-pop group and a mega-fan (Johnny Wu) shows up to support them

As all this unfolds, there are inevitable rifts among the four travelers, as well as a series of predictably wild episodes involving, among other things, horrendously embarrassing tattoos and revelations that could wreck relationships (Kat, for example, has been pretending to be a virgin in order to hew to the expectations of Clarence, a fundamentalist Christian, although Audrey knows that’s patently untrue).  As the movie lurches to a destination, friendships have apparently been shattered, but it’s predestined that they’ll be restored in time for a one-year later postscript.  As for Audrey, her search for her birth mother has a bittersweet outcome.  In short, by the close after all the rowdiness sentiment triumphs. 

All four of the stars help carry the picture from sketch to sketch, but while Park and Hsu have their moments (some quite gross), Cola and Wu are the real sparkplugs here—Cola with her ferocious, take-no-prisoners attitude and filter-free mouth and Wu with her laid-back mixture of sadness and eagerness to please.  (It’s rather a shock when she lashes out at a young cousin at the reunion.)  Everyone else does what’s required of them, and most get at least one moment to shine; Chinn is a particular delight.  The tech contributions—Michael Norman Wong’s production design, Paul Yee’s cinematography and Nena Erb’s editing–are more workmanlike than inspired (Beverley Huynh’s costumes are, however, outstanding) and Nathan Matthew David’s score follows suit, but overall this has the look and feel of a glossy sitcom.

As with most R-rated comedies nowadays, the supposed outrageousness of “Joy Ride” has a calculated quality that makes it seem like slightly stale goods, and isn’t for everyone to begin with.  But the Asian POV freshens things up some.