Treating motorcycle enthusiasts and the objects of their obsession with the utmost reverence, the lovingly crafted documentary “Why We Ride” ultimately chokes on the fumes of bombastic self-seriousness. Director Bryan H. Carroll’s feature-length love letter is far too earnest to connect with the broader audience it’s clearly seeking in limited theatrical play. Smoother roads lie ahead via imminent home video release, where the pic can serve as a fitting holiday gift for those who find riding a Harley akin to having a religious experience.
Carroll takes his cues from the old “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” ad campaign as a sort of pop-culture corrective to the badass bikers portrayed in everything from “The Wild One” (briefly excerpted here) to “Sons of Anarchy,” and loads up on talking heads to demonstrate all-American variety within the ranks. Unfortunately, the wide age range and reasonable gender balance among the interviewees noticeably lacks racial or cultural diversity. It’s not long before the starry-eyed platitudes all start to sound the same, while ham-fisted attempts at prosthelytizing fall flat. Pic at least looks great, thanks to crisp HD lensing by Andrew Waruszewski and Douglas Cheney.