Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe’s indie is full of gifted comedy players but doesn't have anything to say
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.