Picks and Pans Review: Back Roads

updated 04/13/1981 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/13/1981 01:00AM

"Darlin'," drawls Tommy Lee Jones to Sally Field a few minutes into this movie, "we're traveling on wit and grit." Wit and grit, it turns out, are no substitutes for a script. Martin Ritt, after directing Field in Norma Rae, seems to have set out to make a film with absolutely no social conscience. If so, he succeeded. Field plays a hard-luck whore and Jones a down-and-out boxer; they team up for a cross-country ramble from Alabama to California and encounter a solicitous sailor, David Keith. Field and Jones are immensely likable, but all they do is hitchhike, go honky-tonking, fight and make up. It's just a matter of time before they realize, inevitably, that they were made for each other—94 draggy minutes, to be exact. (R)

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