American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
As a general rule, you hardly can go wrong with a movie that uses a woman's first name as its title. Right away you know the film is going to showcase an actress playing a character who is indomitable, eccentric, stubborn, determined and with a heart as big as all outdoors.
Let's make a list: "Camille," "Gilda," "Julia," "Sophie's Choice," "Carrie," "Norma Rae," "Hello, Dolly!," "Cleopatra." (You hardly ever get a movie with a man's first name, probably because of some obscure, sexist impulse we can examine at a later date.)
"Nadine" is the latest entry in this tradition, a movie about a down-home Texas woman (Kim Basinger) who makes the mistake of posing for the wrong pictures for the wrong photographer. He was going to send them to his personal friend, Mr. Hugh M. Hefner, but now it looks like they may wind up on the back of a truck-stop poker deck, so she wants to get them back.
This involves enlisting her soon-to-be ex-husband (Jeff Bridges) in a scheme to break into the photographer's office and grab the incriminating negatives. But first she has to pry him lose from the clutches of his current fiancee, the Pecan Queen. And then there's the problem of the dead body they stumble over in the photographer's studio.