Upon watching this movie, almost reminded me of another movie called "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" from 1974 directed by Martin Scorsese, since the situations are somewhat similar. It deals with single mother, Mary Jo Walker(Janet McTeer) constant arguing with a drinking boyfriend, with 12 year old daughter, Ava who's already packing up her things in her room. The mother then comes into the daughter's room, and then says 'pack up your things, we're leavin'. And without any talking back, Ava listens, both of them driving away. This whole scenario is key because, viewers are going to know little more about Mary Jo and Ava, besides being mother and daughter. I, on the other hand was always kind of wondering what role, her daughter, Ava has in contributing to Mary Jo's breaking off of many relationships, for the movie never did show that until much later, and that it didn't show anything during the current one. This whole first half starts out as a 'road trip' movie, and Ava basically complains to her mother that theirs a consistent trend that seems to be happening, where her mother always goes with the "wrong" men all the time, resulting to them always having to move from town to town. Right there, is a full blown description which the average 'redneck' woman who lives in the south should be able to relate to, which is the amount of marriages and relationships one unreligious woman can have throughout her lifetime. While driving along the highway, Mary Jo is asking her daughter what city she'd want to live in, and she says California, because of the beaches. We, the viewers are always wondering, how she's going to deal with the 'stuck in the middle of the highway' thing and of course, it eventually does happen. It is there, she meets, truck driver, Jack, played by Gavin O'Connor who also happens to be the director and co-writer of the screenplay, adapted from the story by Angela Shelton. Are Jack and Mary Jo are going meet again, of course they're.
By the time they get to their destination, and start to settle down where beaches are somewhere along the area, Mary Jo decides to get a job. Now, at this point I want to remind viewers, that this entire set up was during the time when jobs were flourishing in the States. Considering the fact that this story was before the market had crashed, and before 9/11, making the point that jobs used to be frequent and much easier to get. And, it is during at this time, when Mary Jo hooks up with Jack, that Ava becomes the inconsiderate brat that she really is, and can also contribute to the breaking of some of her mother's relationships, which has a lot to do with who gets more attention, because I as a viewer didn't think Jack was such a bad kind of guy. Does the mom ever talk with the daughter about the amount of attention she is showing toward Ava, as opposed to Jack? And the answer is, no it doesn't. And how does the daughter become such a snob at an expensive restaurant, all of a sudden? The movie never addresses this either. For the movie tends to lose focus on it's main objectives, and rather shifts much more attention to the daughter fully instead, which seems that all the times with Jack, are very blatant if you ask me, and it can be the result of the amount of running time the movie is supposed to have. And I totally hate movies, when it's the 12 year old child that gives good advice to the adult, rather than the other way around. I'm not talking about the scene where, Ava wanted to settle on the town she's in, I'm talking about the scene when Ava ran away from the mother and then converses with Mary Jo's male and single co-worker about using the RV again. This movie is like one notch over from being a negative, since it starts out great, turning the film around to say that men in general are no good anyway, since 12 year old brats demand much more attention than their spouses do, and that theirs no compromise about it either.
2.5 out of 4
always in search of love and happiness, Mary Jo Walker (McTeer) has the habit of hooking up with less than perfect men and dragging her young daughter (Brown) across country when things go bad. the mother-daughter duo find themselves in San Diego, California and soon Mary Jo is hooking up with a man (O'Connor) she met while on the road. eventually, things start to go south and the always restless Mary Jo tries to once again run. however, when her daughter, Ava, refuses to leave their latest home and the normalcy she has long desired, Mary Jo is forced to face herself and finally realize that she already has all of the happiness and love she needs.
I am a sucker for mother-daughter stories and this one was no different. made me laugh. made me cry. I loved it.
well written tale of finding yourself and being happy in the life you have. good stuff.