First reviews for Drive-Away Dolls heap praise on ‘hella lesbian’ road trip comedy

Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan as Jamie and Marian in lesbian road trip comedy, Drive-Away Dolls. (Focus Features/Universal Pictures)

The reviews for lesbian road trip crime comedy Drive-Away Dolls are in, and apparently there is a lot to love about this “unabashedly queer romp” of a film. 

Drive-Away Dolls stars Poor Things actress Margaret Qualley as Jamie, a whacky, wild spirit and extremely horny lesbian, and Bad Education’s Geraldine Viswanathan as the bookish and straight-laced Marian, as they embark on an impromptu road trip from Philadelphia to Tallahassee.

Fresh from a break up with her cop girlfriend Sukie (Booksmart’s Beanie Feldstein), Jamie decides to join the unlucky-in-love Marian on a trip to do some birding with her aunt. On the way, though, the pair get caught up in some dodgy dealings involving a mysterious briefcase in the back of the car they’re delivering, which was intended for a group of inept criminals.

Alongside Qualley and Viswanathan, gay Rustin star Colman Domingo appears as the criminal gang’s leader, while The Last of Us hunk Pedro Pascal and Oppenheimer’s Matt Damon also feature. There’s even a psychedelic appearance by none other than “Flowers” singer Miley Cyrus.

Directed by Ethan Coen, one half of the Coen brothers duo, and written by his queer partner Tricia Cooke, “bawdy sapphic joyride” comedy Drive-Away Dolls is apparently the “goofiest, loosest” entry in the Coen cannon, according to a four-star review in The Guardian

That’s no mean feat, considering the Coen brothers’ filmography also includes Burn After Reading, Barton Fink, and Fargo.

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With dick jokes aplenty and Jamie’s unquenchable thirst for sapphic sex, the film is reportedly a raunchy and explicitly queer barrel of laughs. 

According to Empire critic John Nugent, Drive-Away Dolls is “hella lesbian” – which is enough to get us watching – as it includes “comedy-cunnilingus found in the opening five minutes” and Jamie’s attempt at having a lesbian orgy with an all-female football team.

As such, the film “wears its sapphic colours loud and proud”

Writing for IGN, Katie Rife shared that the movie evokes “a post-riot grrrl milieu that will be Doc Martens-clad catnip to queer women of a certain age,” as it manages to combine “Cooke’s tongue-in-cheek lesbian humour with a signature Coen bumbling-criminals plot”.

We are so, so seated.

Pedro Pascal and Miley Cyrus in stills from Drive Away Dolls.
Pedro Pascal and Miley Cyrus guest star in Drive-Away Dolls. (Focus Features/Universal Pictures)

In addition to Coen’s direction and Cooke’s writing, Drive-Away Dolls is largely being praised thanks to its “extremely charming” leads, Qualley and Viswanathan.

Variety writer Owen Gleiberman determines that Qualley’s Jamie “is like Kristen Stewart crossed with Katharine Hepburn. She’s like someone on a bender – of lust, and of movie-star hunger. She’s got a saucy new in-it-to-win-it hellfire”.

Nugent and USA Today writer Brian Truitt also praised Qualley’s “kooky, charismatic Jamie”, and raved over the connection between the two lead stars.

While Truitt explained that the film – which comes in at less than an hour and a half long – “meanders at the start with multiple plotlines”, it’s the “core actresses’ chemistry keeps you invested,” and overall, it’s an “absolute delight to watch”.

The Guardian’s Charles Bramesco also praised the “brilliant” lesbian road trip caper, writing: “Contrary to its easygoing casual gait, this is an essential work in the Coen corpus, an evolution more than a regression or sacrifice. It’s the rare case in which a preponderance of dick jokes heralds a newfound advance in maturity.”

Basically, Drive-Away Dolls is a film that “just wants to have a good time”. Or, as Nugent puts it: “Suffice to say that this entire movie is essentially one big dick joke.”

Drive-Away Dolls arrives in US cinemas this Friday, 23 February, and in UK cinemas on 15 March.