Movie Review: ‘Who’s Driving Doug’ Is A Sensitive Topic With A Motivational Message

A sensitive topic with a motivational message- ‘Who’s driving Doug’ directed by David Michael Conley presents an unusual theme in a light-hearted manner. To be featured at several film festivals across the country, the movie matches with the modern times of today. Based on the shades of friendship, maturity, love, care, trust and adventure, the plot revolves around a road trip that changes the lives of those involved. With powerful performance by the cast and a strong storyline by writer Michael Carnick, the movie definitely leaves a great impact. Prompting the audience to think about this significant lesson, the story shall succeed in the achievement of its goal.

Centered around the life of reclusive wheel chair bound ‘Doug’ (RJ Mitte), the movie depicts the impact of one life-changing experience along the course of his protected, cared and sheltered life story. An opportunity of road trip to Las Vegas with driver Scott (Ray William Johnson) and college sweetheart Stephanie (Paloma Kwiatkowski) changes his perspective towards the disability. By exhibiting his learning, the story can motivate the viewers to find happiness amidst troubles and challenges. Though the movie touches a sensitive topic of disability and paints the picture of his dependent life, the makers have made use of simplicity of real- life context. By creating perfect blend between humor, sarcasm, seriousness and fun; the movie delivers its message in an effortless manner. While the movie moves along a fun-filled and relaxing mode, it unknowingly touches the chord of heart.

Protected under the wings of mother Alison (Daphne Zuniga) all through his life, Doug finds it difficult to deal with her during the grown up years of college. With an interest to explore the world around, yet tied to the strict control of his mother, he is unhappy with the dependent reality of his reclusive life. A bright student in class and dedicated to studies, Doug finds happiness in his curriculum, but hopes for some adventures beyond the confined walls of his cage. While resignation of his driver forces him to look around for a new help, jobless and carefree Scott comes to the rescue. A fun-loving person with an unusual outlook towards life, drug dependent Scott comes across as a diametrically opposite character for the simple ‘Doug’.

While fighting his battle with certain hidden worries, Scott volunteers to help Doug with the driving job. Though Doug finds it difficult to trust any new person, an attitude that is partly fueled by the extensive care and supervision of Doug’s mother, his interaction with Scott appear interesting and unbelievable. While an unavoidable situation demands Scott’s presence in Vegas, convincing Doug for a road trip along with him turns the course of this tale.

Fighting with his mother for permission, convincing her about Scott, hoping for a consent and finally moving ahead on his own, the story takes us closer to Doug’s sincere wishes for an interesting adventure. While an independent road trip to Vegas could be his first ever opportunity to experience freedom, Doug looks forward to these moments of a lifetime. Accompanied by Doug’s dear friend Stephanie, as the three hit the road for a long journey, the story presents interesting insights into their thoughts. Along the course of this trip, while a strong bond builds between Doug and Scott, fun-filled moments between the two form interesting highlights of the movie.

With freedom and support of a new friend, when Doug experiences gambling, clubs, alcohol, drugs and adventures, Scott hopes for happiness and joy for this protected personality. As Scott motivates Doug to enjoy life and refrain from complaining about his disability, the movie combines beauty of friendship with gems of encouragement. As the plot thickens, it presents a clear picture of their activities, misunderstandings due to complicated feelings of love and unsuccessful attempts towards realization of each other’s views.

By projecting cocktail of adventures along the course of one power-packed weekend, the movie takes the audience towards the game of thoughts running in each one’s mind. With flames of misunderstandings that disturb the friendship between Scott and Doug, certain secrets and realizations open their eyes about the truth. While they clear their troubles and realize each other’s stand, the story comes across as an impactful creation.

Delighted with this memorable road trip that teaches Doug a lot more than he imagined, the movie has certainly done a great job. Though it depicts newly formed friendship between Scott and Doug, the story could have included more significant moments of interaction between the two.
Watch this movie for its light-hearted take on a serious subject, unusual form of friendship between the two contrasting characters, excellent acting by the cast and an inspirational message that shall last forever.

‘Who’s driving Doug’ will definitely drive you to destinations of motivation, confidence, power and energy!

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