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'Daltry Calhoun'

In television ads for his premium golf turf, sod mogul Daltry Calhoun (Johnny Knoxville) urges you to "get high on grass—the legal kind." But to find anything funny in director Katrina Holden Bronson's debut, you're going to want the illegal kind. It wouldn't have hurt to circulate a spliff among the cast either, who read their lines with maximum disinterest. Perhaps they expected humor to sprout from Bronson's wooden script, like the cacti that spontaneously erupt when Daltry's carefully formulated seeds go haywire, threatening to bankrupt him. Complicating the Sturges-lite plot are Juliette Lewis as a widowed sporting-goods clerk and ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Banks, who shows up with terminal cancer and Daltry's 14-year-old daughter in tow. The multiplex hardly needs another "quirky," "indie" comedy. But whatever refreshingly bland appeal the decent, ordinary folks of Ducktown, Tennessee, possess isn't worth the film's convenient whitewash of their Dixie locale. And anyone looking for a paean to the unnatural allure of a sprinklered lawn can see that the grass is greener in Blue Velvet.

 
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