Greener Grass : ‘MAMI’ Review – A Surreal Satire on the Displeasure of Politeness
In the very first sequence of director duo Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe’s ‘Greener Grass,’ a soccer mom gives her baby away to a friend. The reason why she just gives it away can confuse the viewer for a long time. However, the confused, bizarre and hilarious world of suburban weirdness doesn’t end there. Just to clue you in – The rich people who inhabit the town drive golf-carts instead of cars, have braces in spite of perfect teeth, kiss their neighbor’s wife and unathletic kids turn into dogs after falling into the family pool.
The film begins with soccer moms Jill (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Lisa (Dawn Luebbe) watching kids play. The baby is given up during the game itself. Jill is ecstatic to have done a good deed. She is also pleased since she has only one kid to deal with now. However, as we follow up on her friend Lisa’s side of the story – who is not entirely pleased with her existence, we see that the awareness of saying yes to everything has a darker turn. Lisa’s jealousy comes up on the surface as she eyes Jill’s husband – A well-off accountant. Also, to twist in a suspenseful ride, the directors slip in a killer on the loose.
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‘Greener Grass‘ can be seen as both a satire on identity crises and economic breakdown. It’s about a woman who loses everything because she is hell-bent on perfecting the classy life. The metaphors are all there – Breaking the braces off, stopping for other carts to move out before you move etc, represent all of it and more. However, it’s really about a woman breaking down in her tryst to staying perfect. There’s a sharp critic on how politeness ruins your perfect life if it doesn’t have a stop.
Based on the super-absurd short film that the two women directed back in 2016, this feature-length version builds upon its bizarreness. Much like Jim Cumming (also co-starring) who did the same to his short film ‘Thunder Road,’ their debut film is Wes Anderson-esque trip on acid. Funny wtf-isms are thrown every other minute in a strange satire that debugs the value of being rich.
While it can be dismissed for being weird, this truly original comedy will serve both genre fans and the general festival audience equally. Lagging the legwork to finally land a perfect punch in the third act, ‘Greener Grass‘ is an absurdist comedy like no other. Packed neatly with sunny-California light and custom and set-design to match its glory, the film is unique, to say the least. Matching its sturdy undertones with pitch-perfect performances, this is one of those comedies that grosses you out with just how increasingly weird it is.