There’s an alternate reality that certain filmmakers can evoke with the mere wave of their hand. As unique as the atmosphere a director like David Lynch, or on the other end of the spectrum John Waters, can create their vision of reality seems to be appreciated by its sharp contrast to the world of normalcy.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of “Greener Grass” comes from its out-of-left-field awareness of the social conventions it satirizes.
Directed by its distaff stars Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe “Greener Grass” sends up white America while also mining the comedy for the absurdities present in its themes.
Jill (DeBoer) and Dawn (Lubbe) are soccer moms. You can tell the families apart because each are distinguished by similar clothing. The toned pastel costumes are one of the highlights of the film. While watching their kids engage in sports Dawn wishes she could have Jill’s new baby, so Jill gives said baby to Dawn.
Jill’s pre-teen son is a crybaby on the sports field. Jill’s husband is making out with Dawn not because they’re having an affair but because in the color-coded world in which they exist everyone is confused and all decisions are delusional. Instead of cars everyone drives gold carts.
Jill wants her baby back but Dawn refuses. Jill’s son turns into a dog, a golden retriever to be exact. This actually works in the young lad’s favor as his classmates now like him (and want to pet him) and his dad can be proud because his kid can actually run.
Now that Dawn has one baby she wants another so she stuffs a soccer ball in her clothes and announces she’s pregnant. The resulting baby volleyball is named Twilson in honor of Tom Hanks and “Cast Away.”
Under a lesser directorial imagination a film like “Greener Grass” would just be a series of loosely connected gags in search of a payoff. DeBoer and Lubbe combine to give the film a hefty reward with the constant theme of submission to conformity providing eye opening laughs. Lubbe herself stand above six-foot and always compliments the frame with her stance.
Between the combined color palette, the clothes and the mocking tone of the script “Greener Grass” promises a wonderful theatrical outing. The illogical yet surreal cosmology of the film washes over the viewer like a bath of enlightenment.
“Greener Grass” unwinds exclusively starting Friday at the Alamo Drafthouse LaCenterra.
“Motherless Brooklyn” delivers a passion project from director, actor and producer Ed Norton, who also adapted the novel by Jonathan Lethem.
A crime drama par excellence “Motherless Brooklyn” follows a detective (Norton) afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome as he investigates New York City political corruption and the death of his mentor and fellow gumshoe Bruce Willis. Set in the 1950s the film swims in jazz couplets and fantastic location recreations.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Alec Baldwin, Cherry Jones, Willem Dafoe, and a few others co-star.
The spine of political malfeasance makes this film a spiritual cousin to movies like “Chinatown” but Norton has some surprises in store for the attentive viewer.
Plot twists and character revelations are well paced and the overall mood is reminiscent of distant time and place. “Motherless Brooklyn” will be remembered for different aspects of its execution but Norton’s repetitive tic dialogue will be the leading crux of its saga.
“Motherless Brooklyn” opens wide this weekend.