Review: ‘Limo Ride’

dfn-limo-ride-300I’m not sure I completely believe everything in Gideon Kennedy and Marcus Rosentrater’s self described “doc comedy” Limo Ride, but it’s still an infectious and ludicrous tale that starts out as a small adventure between ten Alabama people binge-drinking, drug-taking and all out partying on their way to the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge in Pensacola, Florida, and then quickly swerves into something more sinister and chaotic. It’s basically the country-fried bender to end all benders.

Narrated by the actual participants in a vulgar and irreverent cacophonous voice over (at times speaking over one another, then the next arguing about what really happened), Limo Ride begins in overdrive, barely giving us time to properly acclimate ourselves with the primary people as we watch actors portraying them on screen. Like the night itself, it can’t seem to wait in getting right to the mayhem.

The first bad choice (in just a string of them) points to the rash decision by one of the members of the group to book a limo for the next morning at 2am on New Year’s Eve. Looking back in hindsight, the act is bemoaned by the group, but their non-stop delirium quickly clouds rational thought.

When the limo does arrive and all ten — which comprises nine guys and one female, which is yet another harbinger of the poor dynamics about to erupt– crawl in, things start off innocently enough. They make the polar bear plunge in “Flora-Bama,” hit a few bars and continue drinking heavily. Stage jumping and microphone dropping ensues. Minor scuffles, between both themselves and others in the bars, become regular occurrences.

It’s only after the limo driver returns after being AWOL for half of the liquor-induced day with another man that darker waves invade the group’s frigid water escapades. The long day turns into night where more alcohol, fights and scary turns down gravel-lined country roads soon become a nightmarish trip that Limo Ride documents with garish re-enactments and no-holds barred commentary.

At times pungently funny and other times cringe-worthy in the ignorant ways the group gets themselves into hazy predicaments, Limo Ride plays like a private recording of these people sitting around a campfire, years later, and recollecting the story partially out of disbelief but mostly with childish glee. Even though we don’t get a strong sense of personality behind these guys (and even less about the one girl), Limo Ride isn’t interested in baring their souls, but simply recapping an event that, in retrospect, I suppose isn’t too far removed from one ill-advised vacation trip or drunken Vegas weekend removed from reality.

And to put a bow on the whole thing, stay for the end credits as a voice over from Noelle (who seems to get the worst from everything that happens) recounts the moment when, months later, he overhears two people talking about their mishap as if it’s some urban legend. Because even the participants can’t fully recollect the timeline of certain events or if they even happened during their Polar Bear Plunge trip, it’s a fitting coda to a story that firmly belongs in redneck mythology.

Limo Ride will play at the Texas Theatre for a limited engagement on Tuesday, October 4, with the filmmakers in attendance. It also opens on VOD platforms beginning October 14.