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Back Roads

It's a surprise to discover that this hackneyed, relatively dull road picture is the work of director Martin Ritt (NORMA RAE; THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD). In this first-ever effort from CBS theatrical films, Sally Field plays an amiable hooker who falls in lust with half-baked boxer Tommy Lee Jones. After it becomes clear that Jones can't pay for his pleasure with Field, the two fall in love, whereupon the story goes on the road in an obvious attempt to recapture the mood of Frank Capra's films of the 1930s. The picture begins promisingly but winds up a mess. Ritt and Field seem to have been trying to capitalize on the southern backwoods setting that served them so well in NORMA RAE, but this time around they didn't have nearly as engaging a story with which to work.