Have you ever looked at the cheap movies for sale at 7 Eleven and wondered “Who buys these?” and “What are all these movies?” Well, wonder no more. As a public service, your Lord of Petworth bought a few (on impulse) and brings you this review.
About 20 minutes into watching Leaves of Grass (the madcap pot comedy starring multiple Oscar-nominee Edward Norton), my dog, who had been sitting on the couch next to me the entire time, farted, then got up and walked out of the room.
If you are in a hurry, you can probably just accept my dog’s review of the movie and leave it there.
Leaves of Grass (with the tag line “Drugs, Murder, and Brotherly Love”) is a tale of crazy hi-jinx when a pair of identical brothers (both played by Norton–one an Ivy League Classics professor, the other a small-town pot grower) try to outwit the local drug kingpin who wants the pot growing brother to switch to–gasp–producing meth instead. In what should have been his emergence as the Patty Duke of our era, Norton’s entire double presence in this movie (along with fellow otherwise-credible castmates Susan Sarandon, Tim Blake Nelson, and Richard Dreyfuss–oh, scratch that, I just remembered Mr Holland’s Opus) leads one to question if he was too high to realize the cameras were actually on and it was time to start acting.
In case you’d never picked up on this, people who smoke marijuana tend to get very bloodshot eyes, react slowly, and become hungry and slightly introspective. This seems to be the base of all the film’s attempts at humor. Oh, except for the digs at Oklahoma.
The movie is supposed to take place in Oklahoma. I think it is kinda obvious that the writers, filmmakers, and actors have never actually been to Oklahoma, or even know anyone from Oklahoma, or perhaps they were all too stoned–as they depict small town Oklahoma as being more like a pot-fueled version of Deliverance. In their world, it seems every resident of Oklahoma has a mullet, bad teeth, and considerable beard stubble (even the ladies).
The most offensive element of this tragically unfunny movie is that they periodically try to take themselves seriously. The professor and his love interest (Keri Russell) have these deep conversations about poetry, following your dreams, and truth–and they aren’t even high when having them! They even try to fold in the movie’s namesake work of Whitman by quoting him as they gut a 40-pound catfish (seriously).
Now, when the good folks making American Pie Presents The Naked Mile were making their film–they knew what was expected of them: drinking and boob jokes. They stuck to the formula, don’t pretend to be more, and you can’t fault them for it. They didn’t try to sneak some Nietzsche in there in-between the diarrhea jokes.
But when the makers of Leaves of Grass were trying to “sing the body electric,” they forgot to make the rest of the movie funny.
Oh, and how did they deal with the drug kingpin? They kill him. (Oops, spoiler alert!!)
Verdict: pass it up, get a Slurpee and Taquito instead.