Review By: Alexis Tuminello
I know Johnny Knoxville wants to breakout of the Hollywood typecast of moron but what does he really expect with his limited acting skills and “Jackass” infamy? I give him credit for trying.
Daltry Calhoun is the story of a sod salesman (I didn’t realize it was an actual career either) who’s reunited with his estranged wife and fourteen year-old daughter as his lucrative empire begins to teeter towards bankruptcy. Having the past show up unexpectedly is always disconcerting but even more so when they forcibly plop themselves into the middle of your life. His ex and daughter move into his mansion at the same time all his belongings are being reposed – he uses the lame excuse that he’s loaning them out to museums and what not. His taste is a little too tacky if you ask me. The town loves him. He’s being aggressively pursued by Flora (Juliette Lewis), the proprietor of the local sporting goods store. His daughter is a musical genius set on early admission to Julliard. And his ex, May (Elizabeth Banks) is dying from what the audience can only assume is cancer.
Sounds like the proposed plot to what could potentially be an interesting drama. Only problem is Johnny Knoxville’s been cast as the lead and the writer’s aren’t sure they completely want to dismiss his comedic notoriety. What results is an awkward rollercoaster choking you up one second and eliciting a smile in the next scene with no coherence. Knoxville’s a great insecure bumbler but there is zero range to his character. It’s flat, superficial and all-around pathetic. You have no other choice but to nauseously pity this man who you just can’t identify with. The other actors put in great performances more tailored to their resumes. Lewis reminds the audience that she’s an actress who can be good and just a bit bad in the same role, and is character you come to like as the movie unfolds. Banks is just beautiful and talented and building up her credits big time with films like The Heights (great film!) and Spiderman 2 & 3. She is vulnerable and strong and the best part of the film. That isn’t to diminish from the virgin performance of Sophie Traub as Daltry’s daughter June. Except for the Southern accent, that was just one step over the top, she conveyed the perfect balance of an innocent new teen that’s had to live like an adult most of her life. You watch with a mix of humor and discomfort as she ineptly confronts