The double-entendre titled Transamerica from neophyte director Duncan Tucker is an honest, gritty road picture with a first-rate effort from Felicity Huffman, known mainly from the TV smash soap opera "Desperate Housewives."
The film posits Huffman's Bree, nee Stanley, as a transsexual nearing her life-changing operation.
About a week before her hospital visit, she's contacted by 17-year-old Toby, a fine Kevin Zegers, claiming to be Stanley's son.
Elizabeth Pena is Bree's therapist urging her to confront the boy by flying to New York. She'll end up on an adventurous road trip back to Los Angeles with Toby. Problems definitely may lie ahead as they arrive in Phoenix where Bree's parents (Burt Young, Fionnula Flanagan) live.
Tucker is able to shun the routine escapades in this type of material handling the awkward and revelatory even if the narrative is perhaps too schematic for its own good.
However, one gets emotionally attached to the openness of Bree as Huffman goes beyond the physical transformation, though you wouldn't know it's her from great make-up work and octave vocal descent. Her off-center traits make sense as the story nears completion.
Bree's dilemma isn't too far removed from the one that Bill Murray's character faced in Broken Flowers. There's a plaintive candidness that nearly defines the tone and Zegers offers much as the innocent, yet worldly boy who is looking for purpose in his life. One feels the affection towards the characters as wit isn't in short supply in a way mindful of more than the struggles of dealing with one's sexuality.