BACK ROADS -- AMC Skyline, Flower Twins, Jerry Lewis Cinema, K-B Fine Arts, K-B Georgetown Square, Loehmann's Plaza, NIT Tysons Center, Showcase Beacon Mall, Showcase Turnpike, Tenley Circle.
Only moviemakers and the chaperones of junior high school dances believe that what one loser craves is another loser, of the opposite sex. They cherish the kindly hope of pairing off the wallflowers with the weeds, blithely unaware of the ugly aspect of human nature that makes these poeple more likely to despise one another and lust after those who are out of their reach.
The newest of the "Marty" movies based on this illusion is "Back Roads," in which Sally Field plays a prostitute and Tommy Lee Jones a wastral, and they discover in each other the souls that no one else can see, and by their faith each brings out the best in the other. Perhaps it is not right to give ths away, since it is the whole plot of the film, but surely no one will doubt from the beginning that this is the familiar road beginning that this is the familiar road being traveled. When, in the course of making their way to the promised land (California), they accuse each other of being hopeless losers ("You are a loser! That's what you do! It's what you do best!") it can only be to inspire the will to win.
Field has the tough sparrow appeal of her "Norma Rae" role, but this character has none of the content of her performance as a labor organizer. The prostitute's sole resource is her ability to pick herself up, after having been driven to tears, and to go back out on the street and work. Jones is less attractive, because there is no motivation made for a petty thief's dedicating himself to bringing romance into a streetwalker's life.
What's missing is the figuring that would convert two losers into a winning combination.