Length: 97 minutes
Director: Joey Lauren Adams
Writer: Joey Lauren Adams
Starring: Ashley Judd, Diane Ladd, Laura Pepron, Tim Blake Nelson, Jeffrey Donovan, Scott Wilson, Stacey Keach, Ray McKinnon, Jeff Nichols, Jason Davis, James Cotton, Pat Corley
Indie actress veteran Joey Lauren Adams (and former longtime girlfriend of Kevin Smith) has paid her dues. She’s been in a lot of your favorite movies- “Dazed and Confused”, “Chasing Amy”, “Mallrats”, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”, “Bio-Dome”- er, scratch that last one. If you don’t know her by name, you’ll instantly recognize her by her look and voice (which isn’t to everyone’s liking), if you aren’t a big independent movie fan than you’ll probably know her best as Adam Sandler’s lawyer girlfriend in “Big Daddy”. Always a very talented actress, Ms. Adams makes her film debut with the disappointedly flat and uninspired “Come Early Morning”- which is a real shame given the talent involved. It’s not so much that it’s a bad movie. Adams shows signs of being a very capable writer and director. She has a good ear for dialogue (as I imagine any longtime girlfriend of Kevin Smith would probably pick up) and knows what she’s doing behind the camera. The problem, I believe, is her confidence level. I think, even given the extremely familiar storyline, with an extra push and a little more creativity that this could have been a step above the rest. Instead it barely came to theaters and made it’s television premiere on Lifetime- where to be honest many of it’s viewers might have been a bit bored. Ashley Judd gives another remarkable and unheralded performance as Lucy Fowler (Adams was originally going to pull a Woody Allen and also star, but opted for Judd instead). Fowler is a southern woman who works diligently for a construction firm during the day and then spends her nights getting drunk and picking up one night stands. She doesn’t have much of a support system. Her dad (Scott Wilson) is a local guitar legend who has a drinking problem of his own and her roommate (“That 70’s Show”’s Laura Pepron) silently watches as Lucy destroys herself, wanting to help, but unable to. One day, Lucy meets Cal (Jeffrey Donovan) at the local bar and he asks her on an actual date. She can’t remember the last time she had an actual date and when they share their first kiss, she also is astonished that she can’t remember the last time she kissed someone sober. And so the story goes- will Lucy get her act together? Will she slip up and loose Cal- the one good thing that has come into her life in years? Will she finally bond with dear old dad? It’s a predictable and safe movie, driven by Judd’s powerhouse performance and a game supporting cast, but it’s all too familiar. You know where the movie is going five minutes in and then it’s a very slow ninety more minutes to get there. I do believe that Joey Lauren Adams can write and direct a wonderful film, though this one might not be it, there is one in her. Let’s hope that practice makes perfect.