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I’ll Have What She’s Having: DeBoer & Luebbe Craft a Cult Classic with Bizarro “Greener Grass” | Blu-ray Review

Courting comparisons from David Lynch to John Waters, Tim Burton to Mary Harron, Greener Grass, the directorial debut from Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe is an instant cult classic. A social satire which takes place in an exaggerated, parallel universe (think if we skipped the sexual revolution thanks to nuclear fallout and the US has morphed into a perverse mimicry of 1950s suburban ideology) headlined by the co-directors. Premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival before embarking on an extensive festival circuit trail (which included SXSW and Locarno), DeBoer and Luebbe have (along with director Janicza Bravo, who appears in the cast) a new cinematic niche of Nouveau Weird with a debut that’s a marvelous mix of striking elements while managing to be as funny as it is oddly heartfelt.

Jill (DeBoer) and Lisa (Luebbe) are a pair of soccer moms in suburbia. Jill appears to be oblivious to Lisa’s jealous tendencies, and the two mothers share a passive aggressive relationship which begins to lean into aggressive when Jill, on a whim, gives her newborn baby to Lisa while attending a soccer game for their young sons. Jill’s husband Nick (Beck Bennett) takes issue with this, but seems satisfied when their preadolescent son turns into a dog shortly after this debacle. The loss of her two children forces Jill to reexamine her life, her marriage and her desires.

A social satire along the lines of a “Strangers with Candy” scenario, DeBoer and Luebbe’s Greener Grass also plays like Rick Alverson’s earlier titles of social disruption, and like his films, is difficult to classify or sum up cohesively because it’s a mise en scene which begs to be experienced. Presented as a fuzzy-framed day-glo suburban paradise, Lowell A. Meyer’s cinematography is equally reminiscent of a tattered, un-remastered giallo film.

Disc Review:

Shout Factory and IFC Films present Greener Grass in 2.35:1 with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The Special Features include the original 2015 short the film is based on, deleted scenes, and the theatrical trailer.

Film Rating: ★★★★/☆☆☆☆☆
Disc Rating: ★★★/☆☆☆☆☆

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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