Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trucker (2008)

Trucker opens with the sounds of sex.  The camera eventually reveals the sex to be between Diane (Michelle Monaghan)  and Joey Lawrence's brother.  The sex is taking place in a seedy hotel room.  It was possibly pre-arranged, maybe even paid for.  Diane certainly wants to keep it anonymous.  As soon as it's over she splashes some water on her face and leaves the room after rebuking the kid's request to stay in touch via email.  The camera follows her as she crosses a parking lot. She then gets into a big rig and hauls it out of there.  Whoaaaa (as Joey might say), this broads a trucker.  Pretty hot.  The title now makes sense.

is one of those indie dramas that I don't review (or watch) that often.  It's a simple story about a woman truck driver who is reunited with her estranged son who she hasn't seen since he was a baby (he's now 11).   The boy's father (Benjamin Bratt) is in the hospital with colon cancer and the stepmother (Joey Lauren Adams) has to attend to her own ailing father.  Diane's their last option.  Reluctantly, she takes the kid.  The kid ain't too happy about it either.

You see, Diane is one of those independent type women.  This kid's gonna cramp her style.  All she wants to do in life is drive her rig (which she proudly owns) and get drunk with her good buddy Runner (Nathan Fillion).  There's no room in there for a kid.  Meanwhile, the kid just wants to be back with his daddy who is a pretty great daddy in the opinion of the kid.  He takes care of him, pays attention to him, plays games with him, and puts food on the table for him.  Diane isn't really willing to do any of those things.  Will she come to love the little guy?  Will he love her back? 

Basically, what we got here is a story not unlike more popular shit like The Wrestler or Crazy/Heart only the central character is just a regular Joe (or Joan) and not some former celebrity trying to reclaim past glory.  Diane's a truck driver.  That's pretty much all she wants to do.  In that regard I guess it makes sense that they got the blue collar Michelle Monaghan to play the part.  Although, if Charlize Theron or Sandra Bullock had taken it they'd probably have another Oscar on their mantle.  Monaghan just doesn't come with the same name recognition which is a shame since she does great work here.  The script is a little on the predictable side.  She and her kid don't get along.  Then all of a sudden they do get along just in time for the reveal that they're going to have to spend a lot more time together than originally planned.  Commence the tugging of heart strings.

My favorite part of the picture was when Diane has to take the kid on the road with her.  She gets tired and pulls off to the side of the road.  Kid is like "what the fuck are you doing?"  She tells him to get in the back of the cab, shut up, and go to sleep.  Kid's like "I don't think so....we're going to a hotel".  Cut to them walking into a hotel room.  Later, the kid gets pushed down by a couple of punks while trying to buy a toothbrush.  Diane runs out in a skimpy tee shirt and panties and kicks their asses.  There's more bonding like this throughout the movie as the two come to realize just how alike they are.  They play baseball together, kid hits some guy with a bat that may have been thinking about assaulting Diane, breakfast burritos with Fillion, etc.

Overall, I give this a plus rating.  Sometimes I just want to watch a little of the ol' slice of life type shit.  The supporting cast is good.  Nathan Fillion plays a guy whose wife is apparently cheating on him with some asshole but that's ok cause he's in love with Diane anyway.  Fillion's acting range lies somewhere between puppy dog nice and slightly older dog nice, but he's great within that range.  Bratt is good in his limited screentime, another nice guy.  And whoever played the kid isn't bad either.  Not too annoying.  Anyway, this is one of the better trucker type movies out there.  It could have used an orangutan but that's a nitpick.


Opinioness of the World said...

Wait a minute...Nathan Fillion, Joey Lauren Adams AND Benjamin Bratt??!! I'm in!! I'm so glad that you reviewed this, Brian. Otherwise I never would have known about it.

P.S. All of your comic bits should include orangutans as truckers.

Gianni said...

I'd be willing to see this just for Fillion, who I love in everything he's in, though you're right about his range. Maybe I'll pick this up. Michelle Monahan's not my favorite, but we'll see.