September 23, 2019

VIFF 2019 | Extreme Suburban Politeness – 'Greener Grass'

VIFF 2019—Veteran UCB Comedy duo Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe write, direct, and star in a demented indie comedy soap opera set in a glossy, timeless suburbia where everything seems very off despite people and things being meticulously coordinated. Greener Grass employs so much absurd surrealist imagery and performances to highlight the simple yet highly flawed ideals of suburban life.

Comedians Beck Bennett and Neil Casey co-star as the happy-go-lucky husbands of the pair. We are quickly thrust into this candy-coated community where everyone drives around in golf carts and every adult seems to have braces for no reason. Everything feels so wrong and unhinged despite the idealistic look of a paradise where the lengths of extreme politeness are explored.

It's remarkable how the film really commits to its bizarre but idyllic setting while extracting a lot of dry satire and humour from its absurdity. DeBoer and Luebbe fill out their creepily perfect cast with comedy veterans like the very funny Mary Holland and standout D'Arcy Carden as a divorced neighbour and deadpan school teacher, respectively.

Greener Grass has a cult midnight movie feel written all over it with its twisted '50s style throwback sheen of cleanly wholesomeness that feels much eerier than anything else. There's an odd sense of envy and deep jealousy permeating throughout the film's unsettling brightness of endless pastels. It's just the right kind of weird.

Greener Grass screens at the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Altered States (ALT) stream at the Rio Theatre.

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