Film Review: GREENER GRASS (USA 2019) ***1/2

Greener Grass Poster

Suburban soccer moms find themselves constantly competing against each other in their personal lives as their kids settle their differences on the field.


Jocelyn DeBoer (created by), Dawn Luebbe (created by)

The opening credits appear framed by a mouth with quivering lips in front of braced teeth.  If you think that is weird, consider the following scenario when a mother Jill (Jocelyn DeBoer) asks if she can get back her baby daughter she had given to her friend Lisa (Dawn Luebbe) because her only other child, her son has turned into a dog.  When the answer is no, Jill says,, “Cannot hurt in asking.” when the reply comes: “It does hurt.”  It is a good reply though it shorts stop any other possible responses that could top that.

Described rather accurately as KAFKA meets THE LOBSTER, this is absurdist satire that not everyone will be comfortable with.  But if this is your cup of tea, GREENER GRASS which could also be called ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT WITH A DOSE OF OVER-POLITENESS will be quite the delight.

The setting is an unnamed American suburban town.  The lead characters are two families each with children, and children with problems.  Lisa and Dennis (Neil Casey) do not have sex anymore.  Jill and husband Nick (Beck Bennett) on the other hand, have a sex schedule of five times a week.  The former’s son Julian (Julian Hilliard) is horrible at sports, school and music (he plunks the piano) at a concert compared to the latter’s son who is downright rude and would mouthed – all perfect excuses for hilarity.  But everyone is so polite except when telling the truth that they always do resulting in extreme awkward moments.  The grass is always greener on the other side and there is always room for improvement.  Nick thinks the pool filtration results in better drinking water despite the awful taste.  Nick brings his own water to the restaurant for drinking.

Other absurdities involve Lisa giving birth to a football that she keeps wrapped in swathing clothes.  There is another neighbour with twins who wants everyone too know that she is separated.

All the actors play their material straight faced including the child actors who are actually the funniest, special mention going to Julian Hilliard before turning into the cutest dog.  The scene stealer is D’Arcy Carden as Miss Human, the school teacher that conducts inappropriate examples in the children’s classes.

Apart form all this, the film is framed by a serial killer, a bagger at the local supermarket that serves as a kind of whodunit, and also serves as an appropriate climax to the film.

The comedy is fresh, funny and relatively clean except for the few vulgarities uttered by the rude son.  This is the kind of original comedy that one does not want to end, though the film runs only around 100 minutes.

Though relatively unknown, the actors have done Saturday Night Live before and this is SNL that works not like the 90% of the skits every Saturday that are just unfunny.  GREENER GRASS is not 100% flawless.  The film is a bit messy at times as with its ending and a few set-ups like the photography session turning up a dud.  Still it might just end up on the list of cult movies to be remembered. 



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