It's set in rural Mississippi and sees Jackson play a farmer who stumbles across a "woman of easy virtue" (Ricci) who has been beaten unconscious by a supposed friend (of hers) at the end of his farm drive. She has a raging temperature, so he decides to guide her back to health. As she flits in and out of consciousness, he does a little digging about her and decides to "get her to mend her ways."
It turns out (as often seems to be the case in this sort of thing) that both she and Jackson seems to have had a troubled past (as does her boyfriend, who's played by Justin Timberlake) and I'll give the film credit for not necessarily giving the characters a happy ending. What does irritate me is that Ricci seems to have turned into a stick insect.
Don't get me wrong, the film called for a woman who you could believe would be able to easily garner the attention of men (which Ricci does), but I remember her from The Addams Family films (and Ally McBeal to a lesser extent) and I'd always mentally filed her away as "pretty in an interesting way." Had I not known her, I wouldn't've made a connection to her previous work straight away. She was far too thin (anorexically so I think and I've had 2 sisters with it so I know a thing about it myself). That more than anything gets on my nerves. I have "unresolved issues" I think when it comes to people's relationships with food and this film didn't help in that regard.
There is one other thing I noticed. The audience was 85-90% African American and of the 10-15% that were white, most seem to have come with African-American partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, wives and husbands. This got me thinking. There seems to be a lot more films, radio and television that are aimed at a black audience in American, especially when it is compared to England. In England I can think of two programs that you might argue were for black audiences, and both were on the television in the 1970s and 1980s. There are black-Britons in other shows, but I can't think of one where they make up the majority of the characters.
I'm in two minds as to whether this is a good thing. I can understand the argument that people make when they say that things need to be made that speak to a black audience, but at the same time, part of me is wary about telling anyone to "go off somewhere and enjoy your thing, while I enjoy my thing" and I wonder if that happens more in the US than the UK.