Joy Ride ★★½

Four juvenile delinquents bored and looking for kicks find them by harassing a normal suburban middle-aged couple. Regis Toomey (VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA), who played a lot of judges and cops, is an excellent Everyman, the kind of guy who sits on the couch drinking beer and watching cop shows in the shirt and tie he wore to the office. He talks down the troublemaking quartet the first two times they come around the house, demanding to drive his cherry new T-bird, but the cops, led by Roy Engel (INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN), tell Toomey there isn’t anything they can do. As you would expect, the kids’ harassment escalates until someone gets hurt.

Similar to the later HOT RODS TO HELL, which saw a bunch of delinquents hassling a family headed by Dana Andrews, JOY RIDE is an okay potboiler, but strictly second-feature stuff. Ann Doran (REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE) is overly hysterical as Toomey’s wife, and TIME TUNNEL star Robert Colbert has an early role as a uniformed cop. The JDs are played by Rad Fulton (who later went by James Westmoreland in exploitation fare like DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE and STACEY), Nicholas King (THE GIRL IN LOVERS LANE), Robert Levin (UNDER FIRE), and the 22-year-old and already balding James Bridges, who went on to write and direct films, including URBAN COWBOY, THE PAPER CHASE, and THE CHINA SYNDROME.

Based on a C.B. Gilford story in the January 1957 issue of ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE, the screenplay by Christopher Knopf (20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH) contains some real howlers in its dialogue and plot twists, but it delivers a few minor thrills for an hour and change. Edward Bernds directed HIGH SCHOOL HELLCATS, SPACE MASTER X-7, QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE, and this the same year. Allied Artists released JOY RIDE on a double bill with UNWED MOTHER (thanks to that cad Robert Vaughn) in 1958.