By dawn at the latest, as per the title, Lucille (Ashley Judd) will squeeze back into her jeans and flee another stranger's house, the screw-'em-and-split routine having something to do with her emotionally unavailable dad (Scott Wilson). But this evasive construction contractor never counted on hooking up with Cal (Jeffrey Donovan), a very, very nice guy who lends a slow hand in turning their one-night stand into a weeklong recline. Authentic Arkansas locations -- cramped bars, dusty roads, a swamp in which Lucy and Cal catch frogs to eat -- help vaguely distinguish a movie that comes on like a minor-key reprise of Judd's breakthrough Ruby in Paradise and every other rural indie melodrama to grace Sundance since. Judd's typically lived-in performance helps too: Lucille, with her stringy, unwashed hair, plus a slow-to-heal cut on her face from a saloon catfight, remains fully watchable even when the character's psychology is contrived. Arkansas-bred writer-director (and actress) Joey Lauren Adams puts a little country twang on the soundtrack to keep things light and bouncy until Lucille's tears start to flow, yours being unlikely to follow.
Joey Lauren AdamsAshley Judd, Jeffrey Donovan, Tim Blake Nelson, Diane Ladd, Stacey Keach, Laura Prepon, Ray McKinnonJoey Lauren AdamsEdward Bass, Julie Yorn, Holly WiersmaRoadside Attractions