Daltry Calhoun

Movies

Time Out says


HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY? Lawn specialist Knoxville rules with a green thumb.

In grass-crazy Tennessee, Daltry Calhoun (Knoxville) is king. His special seed recipe has made golf courses verdant nationwide and filled his once-empty pockets with unimagined riches—but a mutation has sent his horticultural enterprise into a tailspin. Just as his wealth is going down the drain, his long-abandoned wife (Banks), whom he knocked up when she was 14, shows up with a terminal illness and plans to make Calhoun take responsibility for his teen daughter, June (Traub). But can June ever get close to her unknown dad—let alone his desperate-to-please preppy girlfriend (Lewis)?

A bighearted Miramax curiosity brimming with Southern comfort and genteel humor, this post-Weinstein dump of a release surprisingly has charm to spare. And in its eccentric innocence, it even harkens back to the prehipster days of indie cinema. (Two decades ago, writer-director Bronson's coming-of-age dramedy, centered on female bonding and self-realization, would have been written by Beth Henley and starred Holly Hunter.)

Moreover, the unlikely sight of jackass Johnny Knoxville and bitch-kitten Juliette Lewis playing sweet and coy to one another is downright subversive. The movie has its flaws, but they are few and forgivable—speed bumps that time and experience smooth out in a young filmmaker. Hollywood screenwriters rarely take women seriously as fully realized protagonists. Let's hope there's room for one more who does.—Stephen Garrett

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