'Wendy and Lucy'


Michelle Williams does her best, but she can't prevent Kelly Reichardt's "Wendy and Lucy," a weak tale about being broke and on the road in rural America, from dwindling into boredom. Prospects for boxoffice or even television and DVD success appear slim.

Wendy (Williams) is a young woman traveling from Indiana to Alaska in search of work who is so devoid of resourcefulness that it's a wonder she has made it to Oregon. Counting pennies and sleeping in her beat-up car, her only company is a mutt named Lucy.

A clumsy attempt at shoplifting results in a day wasted dealing with the local police, and in the meantime Lucy goes missing. The rest of the film follows Wendy's attempts to find the lost pup.

The screenplay by Reichardt and Jon Raymond invites sympathy for a not-very-bright individual who does stupid things and is then resentful when petty misdemeanors generate stern responses.

The film also is a rather puny rebuke to those who think a classic American adventure is to hit the road without a penny in your pocket but with a doughty pooch by your side. (partialdiff)