THE DRAB INDIE FILM Trucker takes the unbeatable premise of Three Men and a Baby and makes a few minor modifications, bearing in mind one of the lessons of an equalizing parenting landscape: Women can be unfit parents, too!
Trucker opens with an idyllic glimpse into the working life of foxy truck driver Diane (Michelle Monaghan) as she contentedly cruises her rig from one long-distance destination to the next, dotting the map behind her with the one-night stands she's loved and left. Upon returning to her Southern California home, she's abruptly saddled with the care of her 10-year-old son, Peter (Jimmy Bennett)—a son she abandoned years ago, with the agreement his father would take full responsibility for his upbringing (Dad's colon cancer was not, alas, part of the long-term plan).
But Diane's not prepared to change her hard-driving, anonymous truckstop sex-having ways. She is, as her son frequently reminds her, kind of a bitch—but perhaps a sensitive and caring soul hides beneath that leather-tough exterior? Perhaps this free spirit is cut out to be a mother, after all? Oh, filmgoer, I think you know the answer to that.
Diane's domestication wouldn't be complete without a staunchly heterosexual love interest, provided here by actor Nathan Fillion, who to Joss Whedon's salivating fanbase will need no introduction (he played Mal, captain of the Serenity, on Whedon's Firefly). As Diane's mouth-breathing neighbor, Fillion helps smooth the relationship between Diane and her newfound kid—all the while not-so-subtly mooning after his pretty neighbor, who seems willing to sleep with any man but him.
While Trucker begins generously, offering a woman access to the freedom the open road has always offered to men, Diane is soon enough shown the error of her roving ways. It's not long before a moral emerges—and for all the film's rough indie edges, the punchline couldn't be more mainstream: "Once a mother, always a mother."