2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix
By SCOTT FOUNDAS\Variety
"Old Joy" helmer Kelly Reichardt plays to her strengths in "Wendy and Lucy," a modest yet deeply felt road movie about an idealistic young drifter, her faithful canine and the wide-open spaces of the Pacific Northwest.
Living out of her car with barely two spare dimes to rub together, Indiana native Wendy (Williams) has ... set out for Alaska, where she hopes to find gainful employment in a Ketchikan fish cannery. Things go awry, however, when her wreck of a car breaks down in Oregon and Wendy takes an ill-conceived stab at shoplifting dog food for her lone traveling companion, Lucy, whom attentive viewers will recognize as the same tan-colored retriever that accompanied the two male leads of "Old Joy" on their trek into the woods.
Caught red-handed by an overly officious stock boy, Wendy is arrested and slapped with a stiff fine. By the time she returns to the supermarket parking lot where she left Lucy tied up, the dog has disappeared.
Remainder of "Wendy and Lucy" concerns Wendy's efforts to fix her car and find her lost pet, which Reichardt dramatizes in a series of two-handers between Wendy and the various strangers, some kinder than others, who cross her path.