Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019: Greener Grass
By Andrea Thompson
“Greener Grass” isn't so much Diablo Cody meets “The X-Files” as it is the two colliding in an extremely messy train wreck. It's as funny as it is horrific as it gives us a bizarre, distorted vision of suburban rituals, with the kind of comedic talent, both known and not, who can pull it off.
In this world, all the adults wear braces, and appearance, conformity, and politeness matter above all else. One woman casually gives her baby to a friend and another friend for not offering to also give her baby to her. Soccer is an important indicator of status, and grocery stores have signs stating they're “not responsible for lost or stolen lives.” Children also turn into dogs, yet are still dressed in clothes, fed at the table, and are taken to school. When the parent says, “He's a dog now,” to a teacher, she replies, “Well, he's tardy.”
The deadpan humor fits this weird environment perfectly, even if there isn't much of a plot to speak of. But co-directors and co-writers Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe are a riot as they play toxic friends Jill and Lisa, who are both suffocating along with everyone else in their delightfully twisted, deeply affluent bubble. It wears a bit thin by the end, as DeBoer and Luebbe touch on deeper issues and the possibility of change without delving deeper, undercutting the commentary somewhat. But if you're a fan of midnight movies, you'll mostly enjoy the ride as a new female-centric cult classic is born before your eyes.