Entertainment » Movies

Greener Grass

by Derek Deskins
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Feb 11, 2020
Greener Grass

What do you call a trap that you dive into excitedly? "Greener Grass" apparently. Its off-kilter sense of humor and pervasive darkness despite a Day-Glo exterior had me knocking at its door; too eager to witness the oddity to consider how I could possibly consume it. Here I now sit, soaking in confusion without the vaguest idea of how to even begin to unpack this uncomfortably awkward question mark of a movie. Buckle up, because I have no idea where this is going.

In a bizarro-suburbia (that isn't Florida but also, is totally Florida), where braces are more accessory than dental device and golf carts are the preferred method of transportation, two soccer moms are in a perpetual state of courteous warfare. Jill and Lisa trade pleasantries while their children play soccer on top of the graves of their elders (not a joke). But when Jill's desire to be accommodating results in her giving her newborn daughter to Lisa (again, not a joke), we begin to see just how strange things can get.

Whenever I attempt to tell someone about "Greener Grass" I inevitably sound like a crazy person. I'm not sure what I expected, as recounting things like a man that has developed a taste for pool water, a yoga-instructor murderer that no one is phased by, or a child that transforms into a dog without reason sounds more like the musings of a mad man than the basic plot elements of a movie. But even letting those bits stand as the weirdest parts of "Greener Grass" isn't true. It's a movie that is so unrelentingly odd that wrestling any kind of meaning out of it just sounds exhausting.

Writer-director-stars Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, at least at a surface level, are attempting to reveal the inherently strange nature of suburbia. Wherein adults are defined by their children and the chores that they do, while also locked in an unending war with the other parents to be the best of the bunch. But even that fairly straight-forward read of the film ends up buried in the details. For DeBoer and Luebbe barely feel satisfied to only explore those themes. Instead, they pile on one obtuse element after the other, resulting in a movie that is scattered to the say the least.

The Blu-ray release of "Greener Grass" is exceptionally slim on special features. There are some deleted scenes and a trailer for the film (a move that has never made sense to me). The only special feature worth your time is the short film that "Greener Grass" is based on. Watching the short version of "Greener Grass" reveals just why it doesn't work as a movie. DeBoer and Luebbe have essentially redone their short film, into which they've forced over an hour of extra fluff, that only serves to dilute the strength of their own short. As a short, "Greener Grass" is a blast of weird whose thematic elements shine brightly. But as a film, it feels overlong, purposeless, and designed to make you squirm in your seat. "Greener Grass" is little more than a feature-length exercise in cringe.

"Greener Grass"
Blu-ray + DVD


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