American suburbia is lampooned in this candy-coloured absurdist comedy starring writer-directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe. Jill (DeBoer) arrives at a kids’ football match with a new baby, but it takes a while for her self-absorbed friend Lisa (Luebbe) to notice. When Lisa finally admires the infant, Jill politely offers her the child: ‘Take her – she’s yours now’.
This casual exchange about a life-changing matter defines the film’s surreal mood. This is a world in which big talk is translated into small talk, and the desire to be accepted overwhelms all normal instincts. As well as wearing pastel colours and mouth braces, all the characters drive golf carts. To add to the over-quirk, they end up paralysed by politeness at the local crossroads. One character even agrees to divorce her husband in an instant after friends egg her on. The latter scene works on a dramatic level as well as a comic one, but on the whole, ‘Greener Grass’ is hard to invest in. The central performances are good – this is a terrific calling card for DeBoer, in particular – but the characters and narrative can’t sustain a feature-length movie. Many jokes fall flat, and a murder plotline has little point other than underlining the characters’ vampiric response to someone else’s drama.
If ‘Greener Grass’ feels like a stretched-out short film, that’s because it is: it’s based on a 15-minute movie that had modest cult success, and contained most of the best ideas. The grass may be greener, but this film is probably funnier if you’ve been smoking it, too.