Developed from a screenplay by Anne Rapp, best known as a script supervisor, this is an uncharacteristically subdued as well as (mainly) good-natured effort by Robert Altman, set in the new south but without the more bogus trimmings of Nashville and Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. At the center of the doings in Holly Springs, Mississippi, is the friendship between an oddball matriarchal widow (Patricia Neal) and a middle-aged black man (Charles S. Dutton); other important characters include the widow’s two estranged nieces (Glenn Close and Julianne Moore), the daughter of one of the nieces (Liv Tyler), a catfish supplier (Lyle Lovett), and a sheriff’s deputy (Chris O’Donnell). Most of what transpires is low-key, affectionate comedy and a fair amount of fun.