Riding In Cars With Boys parents guide

Riding In Cars With Boys Parent Guide

Although the content is heavy, parents may find this movie offers a way to merge into important discussions with their teens about choices and consequences.

Overall B+

At fifteen, Beverly D'Onofrio (Drew Barrymore) announces her unplanned pregnancy. The result of Riding in Cars with Boys, this unexpected detour in her plans changes the course of the rest of her life.

Release date October 18, 2001

Violence B-
Sexual Content C-
Profanity C-
Substance Use D

Why is Riding In Cars With Boys rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Riding In Cars With Boys PG-13

Run Time: 131 minutes

Parent Movie Review

At fifteen, Beverly D’Onofrio (Drew Barrymore) announces her unplanned pregnancy. Full of dreams for his bright young daughter, Bev’s father (James Wood) is both crushed and embarrassed by the news. Pasting on smiles, he and his wife (Lorraine Bracco) endure the social nightmare of their daughter’s marriage to Ray Hasak (Steve Zahn), a local high school drop out. Coming from a fractured home, Ray’s intentions are good, but he lacks the maturity, education, and skills to support a family.

Trading junior proms and high school grad for labor pains and dead end jobs, Bev takes on the adult responsibilities of parenthood and marriage with mixed success—before she can even drive a car. Her hopes for a college degree and a writing career begin to fade like the outdated paint on the walls of their rundown bungalow. Between toddler tantrums, the young mother tries to finish her high school diploma and apply for a college scholarship, but her husband’s alcoholic binges leave her to deal with her problems without much help. It isn’t until Ray’s illegal drug habit infringes on her goals that Bev finally takes control of her own future.

Based on a true story, Director Penny Marshall uses flashbacks to paint the haunting picture of one girl’s unintended detour in life, and the heavy price she pays for her choices. For older teens, this film is a startling bit of reality from an industry that often flaunts teenage sexuality without numerating the consequences—not only for the individual, but also for their families. The movie also tackles the dark, spiraling world of illegal drug use, the horrific pain of coming clean, and the countless victims left in the wake.

Though not always likeable, Bev is a strong-willed character bent on moving out of her hometown and on with her life. Families comfortable with discussing the heavy content of this movie may find her struggle with self-inflicted roadblocks and the blurry lines defining her role as mother or child, to be a ramp for examining choices, even seemingly small ones like riding in cars with boys.

Directed by Penny Marshall. Starring Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn, Adam Garcia. Running time: 131 minutes. Theatrical release October 18, 2001. Updated

Riding In Cars With Boys
Rating & Content Info

Why is Riding In Cars With Boys rated PG-13? Riding In Cars With Boys is rated PG-13 by the MPAA

Page last updated

More parents' guide for Riding In Cars With Boys after the break...

Riding In Cars With Boys Parents' Guide

After discovering she is pregnant, Bev makes plans that don’t include marriage. Why does she change her mind? Despite his upbringing, what are Ray’s redeeming qualities?

Bev accuses her son Jason of messing up her life on several occasions. How did her words effect Jason’s perception of himself? How did it color the way Bev looked at her own life? In the end, what does Bev mean when she says Jason saved her?

Bev says, “One day can make your life. One day can ruin your life. All life is, is four or five big days that change everything.” What were the big days in Bev’s life? How much personal responsibility does Bev have for what happened on those life-changing days? Have you experienced any big days in your life?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Riding In Cars With Boys movie is March 18, 2002. Here are some details…

ADVD Release Information:

  • Available audio tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0).
  • Available subtitles: English, French, Chinese, Korean, Thai.
DVD Extras:
  • Drew Barrymore commentary
  • Production notes
  • Behind the scenes featurettes: Drew’s Trailer Tour, Bev & Ray’s House—Recreating Reality, The Cars, and Bev & Jason—Sons and Lovers.

Related home video titles:

Where The Heart Is and Down In The Delta are two other movies that follow the lives of women trying to overcome consequences of poor decisions they’ve made. Anywhere But Here looks at a child struggling to overcome the legacy of her mother’s poor choices.