By Erik Davis, reprinted from the Tribeca Film Festival 4/26/08
I was completely honest with actress Michelle Monaghan yesterday when I told her, right at the beginning of a one-on-one interview, that I'd been waiting a long time to watch her come alive in a role. In her relatively short career, Monaghan has already racked up quite the resume -- appearing in films like Mission Impossible III, Gone Baby Gone, The Bourne Supremacy, The Heartbreak Kid and Made of Honor. She's got a great, girl-next-door quality about her, but is she memorable? The good news here is that Monaghan finally delivered the sort of performance I've known was trapped somewhere inside her, hidden behind a variety of big, flashy Hollywood films. Make no mistake, this is her film. She owns it. But is that enough to convince you to see it?
In Trucker, she plays Diane, a female truck driver with one helluva edge -- not to mention a knack for drinking lots of hard liquor and taking part in more than a few unhealthy one-night-stands. She's a selfish woman with not many friends; she knows just what she needs to keep on truckin', and she knows just how to get it. Thing is, you'll never see her give anything back. These personality traits become a problem when Diane's 11-year-old estranged son (Jimmy Bennett) shows up on her doorstep one day -- brought by his soon-to-be stepmother (Joey Lauren Adams) when colon cancer forces the kid's dad (Benjamin Bratt) into the hospital. These two, mother and son, don't care for one another, nor are they interested in getting better acquainted. He needs a place to crash for three weeks, and she needs to find a way to let that happen.