Joy Ride

Rated 2.0 Two brothers on a cross-country drive (Steve Zahn, Paul Walker) use their CB radio to play a prank on a truck driver. But the trucker proves to have no sense of humor; his revenge spirals into a nightmare of stalking and kidnapping. The film’s virtues are bravura direction by John Dahl, impressively lurid cinematography by Jeffrey Jur, and strenuous performances (including Leelee Sobieski as the damsel in distress). But they contend in vain with the howling implausibilities of Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams’ heavy-breathing script, a hysterical hybrid of Steven Spielberg’s Duel and teen-stalker flicks like Halloween and I Know What You Did Last Summer. There’s tension a-plenty but no real suspense, and no payoff except for a groan-inducing, look-out-here-comes-the-sequel ending.