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Sarah Jessica Parker,
Harry Connick Jr.,
The Knoxville, Tennessee-set film, written by Bronson, is a dark comedy about a father (Knoxville) struggling to keep his once lucrative Tennessee golfing empire intact when his estranged 14-year-old daughter (a gifted musician) is unexpectedly left in his care. Written by
Daltry Calhoun is a self-made man, riding to the top of the business world with his hybrid grass seed, and re-inventing himself along the way. But this "new man" will be put to the test when his old girlfriend shows up with his 14 year old daughter at the same time that his business is tottering on the edge of the abyss.
In actuality, this film is more about Daltry's daughter, who narrates much of the events in his life. It is an uncomplicated story line with LOTS of strange and complicated twists just like life. This film is listed as a "Comedy", but would best be described as "Light Drama", marinated with comedy. It covers some very serious and dramatic events, but with a matter-of-fact lightness, rather than a flippant or ponderous or judgmental attitude. Another director would probably have attempted to wring out every drop of emotion out of the story, which would have made the film a cheap, melodramatic over-the-top waste. THIS director did NOT do that.
The entire cast gives very solid performances and creates real, lovable, endearing characters, with some truly moving and memorable moments. The biggest problem is that you want more when the movie ends. The script is a joy, leading you down some stereotypical paths then nimbly adding interesting tidbits of information to make you change direction. It has an honest look to it, compliments of filming in a real southern town. Add to this an amazing collection of music with some very new ways to interpret old songs, and you have a solid, well done movie.
It is not in the "Oscar" group. But if you are looking for some pleasant entertainment, go get your popcorn, kick back, and enjoy. Add another ½ star if you are a big country-western music fan.
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