The warped and idiosyncratic passions, animosities, materialistic desires, mating habits, and social dynamics of suburbia (where everyone only drives golf carts) are on full display in Greener Grass, filtered through a comedic sensibility that places a premium on out-of-left-field absurdity. Thanks to a new purification system, Nick only drinks the water found in his swimming pool, even bringing jugs of it with him wherever he goes. Jill’s friend Kim Ann (Mary Holland), in the midst of a divorce from her husband, looks down on Jill for bringing a dip that only has five, rather than seven, layers. At a bowling alley birthday party, Lisa and Marriott (Janicza Bravo) greet each other with not-so-passive-aggressive digs about each other’s dresses (“Are you an ice dancer?” “No, are you pregnant?”). And at Nick’s birthday cookout, Julian sings his dad “Happy Birthday” but, before he can finish, falls face-first into the pool—and emerges as a golden retriever, which pleases Nick because now his son is fast and athletic.
None of this makes the least bit of sense on a literal level, but each of Greener Grass’ ridiculous twists is rooted in a particular form of suburban parental craziness, be it their competitions with each other over status (and their kids’ accomplishments), their demanding and selfish expectations for their offspring, their infatuation with appearances at the expense of personal and familiar happiness, and their fears about the corrupting nature of media on young minds. The last of these provides the film’s single biggest laugh, when Lisa and nerdy husband Dennis’ (Neil Casey) adolescent son Bob (Asher Miles Fallica) watches a TV show called Kids With Knives and immediately transforms into a profane hellraiser, screaming at his parents, “You assholes don’t even let me drive!”
There’s a teacher who sings classroom songs about her murderous mother, a restaurant meal that ends with everyone eating spilled entrees off the floor, a TV commercial for “Baby-Bird” food that’s been processed by moms’ mouths (“because machinery is not a mother”), and an entire subplot about a yoga teacher-killer—the police suspect it was a grocery store bagger—who appears to be hunting Jill. Greener Grass routinely assumes the POV of this giggling lunatic as they spy on Jill, and the fact that DeBoer and Luebbe only depict the individual’s hands (if at all) further underscores their film’s bizarre affinity for Dario Argento giallos. At the same time, they routinely let their story veer off into mind-boggling inanity, as when Lisa picks up a soccer ball at one of her son’s games, puts it under her dress, and promptly says she’s pregnant, much to the congratulatory cheers of Dennis and company.