(Release Info UK schedule; Leeds International Film Festival, November 10th, 2019, Hyde Park Picture House, 73 Brudenell Rd, Leeds LS6 1JD, UK, 3:45 pm)
Jill (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Lisa (Dawn Luebbe) live in their perfect homes in their idyllic suburban community with their happy families. Their days are spent in the grocery store exchanging fashion tips and at birthday parties complimenting their neighbor's potluck dips. In this dark comedy of manners, soccer moms Jill and Lisa seek the approval of their friends; at all costs. This surreal world is just on the edge of consciousness; suburbia through the looking glass. Every adult wears painful braces on their straight teeth, couples coordinate meticulously pressed outfits, and coveted family members become pawns in this competition for acceptance. In a day-glo-colored, bizarro version of suburbia where adults wear braces on their already-straight teeth, everyone drives golf carts, and children magically turn into golden retrievers, Jill and Lisa are locked in a passive aggressive battle-of-the-wills that takes a turn into the sinister when Lisa systematically taking over every aspect of Jill’s life. As the women desperately vie for validation, they struggle to maintain pleasantry and normalcy, even when things get weird. And they do get weird. When Jill gifts Lisa her newborn baby in an altruistic gesture, paranoia overwhelms Jill while her fears and anxieties quickly unravel. Meanwhile, The Ref (Londale Theus Jr.), a psycho yoga teacher killer, is on the loose and Jill’s husband Nick (Beck Bennett) has developed a curious taste for pool water. That’s just the tip of the gloriously weird iceberg, a hilariously demented, 'Stepford Wives'-on-acid satire destined to be an instant cult classic.
These girls are idiots! They might not have seemed like your typical baseball-cap-wearing, video-village-lurking characters. Jill, in head-to-toe pink with her son Dan (Sutton Johnston) by her side, a golden-retriever wearing khakis and a 'Purple Heart' pinned to his polo. Lisa, with a soccer ball pregnancy tucked up under lavender tulle, both of them wearing braces on their teeth. Years ago, they're put on a house team together at 'The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre' in New York. They bonded one chilly night when all 'The East' coasters had left early and the two girls are putting the chairs away. There was one piece of a black-and-white cookie left and, like an overplayed 'My Fair Lady' CD skipping, they entered a loop of 'No, please, you've it' and so on. Neither of them ate that piece of cookie that night. And after only a few short half-hours, they threw it away together. And it was at that moment the girls would be incredibly productive working together.
Now, Earth to Little Helen (Dot Marie Jones). Would a couple of idiots choose to triple-threat their future? A movie that stars children, a baby, and a seven-month-old puppy. A movie where we chose not to show any vehicles other than golf carts. A movie that co-stars a soccer ball with half a dozen costume changes. And most importantly, a movie featuring so many of our aging friends that we've to make a 'Hail Mary' decision to give every adult in the damn thing braces to look younger. But, alas. Dot Jones can say whatever she wants because she’s a 15-time world arm wrestling champion and we've delicate elbows. But just like non-idiots George R.R. Martin, JK Rowling, and Rand McNally before, they've created a world with it's own logic, hand-drawn maps, and board games based off it. This world is a demented version of suburbia. And who better to satirize oh-so idyllic, polite America than these two Midwestern middle girls?
Suburbia has never been so hilariously absurd as it's in "Greener Grass", where two eccentric housewifes are driven by her eagerness to please. In a residential suburb with a killer on the loose, the two housewives compete to have the best children, the best husband and, above all, the most beautiful teeth. In this stinging satire on 'The WASP Community', a baby is given away like a piece of clothing and a child morphs into a dog without anyone being shocked. Politeness is taken to extremes and the realm of appearances reaches the point of lunacy. An overly colorful, deliciously warped version of suburban America that feels like 'The Stepford Wives' at a lawn party and then snuck off to do acid, the film plays soccer-mom frenemies in deranged competition with one another. Golf carts, braces, golden retrievers, soccer balls, and yoga teachers all play way bigger roles than you’d expect. This 'Desperate Housewives' on acid throws a nasty blow at the clichéd image of American suburbia.
"Greener Grass" fully commits to a demented version of suburbia as the film scrutinizes the willingness to endure extreme discomfort in exchange for conformity. A deliciously twisted comedy set in a demented, timeless suburbia where every adult wears braces on their straight teeth, couples coordinate meticulously pressed outfits, and coveted family members are swapped in more ways than one in this competition for acceptance. "Greener Grass" explores one’s willingness to endure present pain in exchange for future validation; or at least a perfect smile. The film confirms a gift for outrageous absurdity in this impressive dark comedy full of unsettling behavior.