GREENER GRASS (Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe). 95 minutes. Opens Friday (October 18). See listing. Rating: NN
Greener Grass was a word-of-mouth hit at Sundance, which once again serves as a reminder that high altitudes make audiences very, very receptive.
At sea level, Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe’s indie is just sort of there, a checklist of suburban-disaffection clichés torqued up to absurd levels, and set in a world of pastel-clad soccer moms who drive golf carts everywhere, defer to their husbands and face every crisis they’re enduring with a forced smile. (Literally: every adult in the movie’s world wears braces.)
DeBoer and Luebbe, alt-comedy players expanding upon a 2015 short, are Jill and Lisa, two best friends living in a squeaky-clean California town where everything is very nice all the time so long as everyone agrees that it is. Sometimes you give your baby away to a friend, and sometimes a different child turns into a golden retriever, but that’s just life, right?
Despite a cast of gifted comic performers – including Saturday Night Live’s Beck Bennett, Silicon Valley’s Neil Casey, The Good Place’s D’Arcy Carden, Thunder Road’s Jim Cummings and Comedy Bang! Bang! ringers Mary Holland and Will Hines – and a visual aesthetic that somehow evokes both David Lynch and Desperate Housewives, Greener Grass just doesn’t have anything to say.
In the end, DeBoer and Luebbe just leave Jill’s ennui – and the audience – drifting aimlessly through their movie’s empty pleasantries. The dog is adorable, though.