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Daltry Calhoun

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 4/12/2006

THE MOVIE Johnny Knoxville moves away from his normal type in this sweet, if not particularly interesting, movie. Knoxville plays Daltry Calhoun, a former drug-dealing ne’er-do-well who turns his gift for growing grass into a small-town Tennessee seed and sod empire. But due to a defect in the grass—it grows spontaneous cactus boners—his business is in trouble. As if Daltry didn’t have enough to deal with trying to keep his rags-to-riches story from going back to rags, his ex-girlfriend May (Elizabeth Banks) shows up with incurable cancer—and their 14-year-old daughter, June (Sophie Traub). June is your standard precocious teen, all glasses, pigtails, and wisdom beyond her years. A host of wacky characters round out the flick: Daltry’s love interest, Flora (Juliette Lewis), a Southern vamp with a heart of gold; illiterate pal Doyle (David Koechner); and Frankie (Kick Gurry), an Aussie who arrives to fix Daltry’s grass boner problem and kick June’s hormones into overdrive.

Written and directed by first-timer Katrina Holden Bronson—Charles’ daughter—Daltry Calhoun is a bit tricky to pin down. Not funny enough to be a comedy but a bit too wacky for a straight-up drama, its timing feels off, as it manages both to rush (May deteriorates in a blink of an eye, and June’s narrations are used to skip over plot and character development) and drag (it feels much longer than 100 minutes). Still, Knoxville is pleasantly likable as a man trying his hardest to make good, and a scene in which Daltry holds June’s hair back when she pukes is genuinely touching. Banks’ nuanced performance steals the show, though, making the movie’s second half, particularly the Daltry/Flora romance, feel hollow.

THE DISC The bonus features—a commentary track, deleted scenes, making-of featurette, music video, and bloopers—are similarly unexceptional. The bloopers are surprisingly light on laughs, and there is also a weird featurette on “The B Team,” an inside joke among the cast that is probably hysterical to them. Executive producer Quentin Tarantino joins director Bronson and producer Danielle Renfrew on the commentary track. The three have good chemistry but little entertainment, sticking to behind-the-scenes tidbits such as Taub and Knoxville’s struggle to fake left-handedness, as well as trivia about Tarantino’s other movies and the usual “You’re the coolest”/ “No, you’re the coolest” self-congratulations.

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