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great job, kid...you ate the ball...now what are we supposed to do?

R

Michelle Monaghan, Jimmy Bennett, Nathan Fillion, Joey Lauren Adams, Benjamin Bratt

Runner: You ever heard of a Jack of all trades?  Well, that’s me.  Actually, I’m more of a 6 of diamonds of all trades…

Diane Ford (Monaghan) is an appropriately named truck driver who is used to her lonely life of long drives and short relationships.  One day, Diane is asked to look after her 11 year old son Peter, whom she abandoned 10 years ago, while his father battles cancer.  Obviously this infringes on her care free life, and the two clash at first.  But maybe, just maybe, they will eventually bond…and they might even teach each other a few valuable lessons about life and love along the way.

Formulaic.  Sometimes one word can say it all, and for me “formulaic” does the trick here.  This is like a remake of Over the Top, but without all the arm wrestling.  It does feature a similarly annoying kid character, though, and a star with the same letter at the beginning of her first and last name, just like Sylvester Stallone in Over the Top.  See?  Same movie.

I will say that Michelle Monaghan turns in a much better performance than Sly did back in 1987, but I can’t say it was entirely convincing.  Maybe if the kid wasn’t such a brat from the get go it would have worked better.  If he had slowly wedged his way into her heart by being nice and patient I would have bought it more easily.  As is, I felt like the character of Diane would have just clobbered the kid a few times and sent him on his way.

It’s always good to see Nathan Fillion in a movie, and he’s amusing again here as Runner, Diane’s married drinking buddy who is obviously sweet on his little truck driving friend.  Their relationship is more interesting, and less predictable, to watch than Diane and Peter’s.

This isn’t a bad movie.  In fact, it’s competently made and acted.  It’s just so familiar and uninspired.  It seems like they were counting on the fact that it’s a woman truck driver reuniting with her son to make the movie more interesting.  That may be a somewhat original perspective to start from, but the story is far from original.

Don’t abandon your kids.  They’ll just end up back in your life anyways.

10 – 3 for being so formulaic and predictable – 1.1 for the annoying kid and the angry relationship between mom and child = 5.9