Hope (Heather Graham) is a night shift waitress who has made several mistakes in her life. She leaves Ohio for Los Angeles, trying to make a living as an entertainer. She meets Will (Jeremy Sisto), who is desperate to win her back. They get involved with drugs. Hope realizes that she needs to break free from drugs, if she wishes to make her dream come true; so she cuts off all ties to Will. Will, however, is prepared to go to any length to ensure that they stay together - even to the extent of committing murder, robbing her workplace and taking her hostage. Towards the end of the story, Hope is shown instead of her own regular customers, while one of the customers is the waitress.
A common interpretation is that Will represents Hope's addiction to drugs, and her customers (the men killing time waiting for drugs, the singer/songwriter on her way, the madame and prostitute, the drugged up girl who spends time with men she doesn't really want to be with, the producer and director in the genesis of making a movie, the crazy woman at the end of the counter) represent her possible life outcomes. When she shoots Will, she liberates herself from the drug addiction and is ready to start a new life.