J.T. (TOBEY MAGUIRE "Spiderman," "Cider House Rules," Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry," Ang Lee's "Ice Storm" opposite Kevin Klein and Sigourney Weaver, "S.F.W.," "This Boy's Life") and James (WILSON CRUZ TV's "My So Called Life," "Johns"), two misfit friends, are barely surviving in their claustrophobic hometown. Routinely harassed by bullies, they waste away their hours, dreaming of a better life somewhere else.
For J.T., the future looks even bleaker. He stands to inherit his father's rundown motel. It is his prison and he is serving a life term.
When Tanya (AMY HATHAWAY "Courage Under Fire," "The Client") arrives with her father Harold (ADAM WEST TV's "Batman"), J.T. is taken with Tanya's beauty and sensuality. He tries to ignore the obvious 'seedy' business affairs of the mysterious father and daughter.
Soon after, a female assassin with a mission, known only as Smith (CHRISTINA NAIFY) checks into the motel. She drives a convertible muscle car that breathes power and speed. She warns J.T. to stay away from it.
Unable to resist, J.T., James and Tanya steal the car for a joyride. Their lives ignite into thrills, danger and intrigue until they find the town doctor dead in the trunk of the car.
On the verge of panic, J.T. seizes the moment, and figures that if they can just get rid of the body -- they can keep the car. "No one in their right mind would report their car as stolen with a dead body in the trunk!" Over James' adamant objections, J.T. and Tanya sink the body into a lake. After the dead body washes up to shore, Police Detective Lopez (BENICIO DEL TORRO "Traffic," "The Fan," "Excess Baggage," "The Usual Suspects," "Basquiat," "Swimming With Sharks") and his partner begin to search for the killer. The detectives are confused by the evidence at hand.
It looks like two people did the crime, one an expert and the other -- an idiot. Determined to keep the car, the once timid J.T. challenges Smith to back off or he will tell the cops about the murder. He is going to keep the car no matter what. Smith, however, will stop at nothing to get it back. She threatens that if the car is not returned to her by evening, she not only will kill them: she will begin killing each member of their families -- one by one.
Full of surprises, the heat is on and the three friends, together with the audience, are taken on an unforgettable "JOYRIDE."