Blending comedy, drama, and even action into one potent mix, Leaves of Grass is a different kind of a stoner movie. It explores many unusual issues for this genre like class struggle, morality, family relationships, and ambition. So, if you’re expecting a fast-paced comedy about two stoners in trouble, you will be disappointed. This is a tenderly paced darkly comical movie that tried to do too much. It simply couldn’t figure out what it wants to be and this is how it will be remembered. Still, it’s intriguing and thought-provoking enough to warrant a watch.
The dialogue is witty, using humor to defuse certain issues and make us think about them. You could even call this movie a new genre of a stoner comedy, perhaps an elevated stoner comedy. Now, it can get a bit heavy-handed with the messaging and plotting but what can you do. At least you won’t miss what the movie is trying to tell you. And that’s something I hate the most, those pretentious artsy movies you have to deconstruct for days in order to realize they tried to say violence or racism is bad.
You could say that we here at Rabbit Reviews are a bit partial when it comes to stoner movies. And you would be right if you said that. But we’re also partial when it comes to Edward Norton and he plays a double role here. Having one actor play twins is always risky but it did work in Leaves of Grass. His performance here anchors a somewhat convoluted story. I also must mention Keri Russell as she almost stole the show here as loveable Janet. So we even got romance as another theme in this already rich mixture.
Bill and Brady are two identical twins who took different paths in life. One is an esteemed professor and the other one is a hillbilly pothead. When Brady gets into trouble with the local drug dealer he will have to get his brother to help him with the problem. The return to his hometown will bring back both pleasant and unpleasant memories and also make him question his life choices.
The atmosphere of Leaves of Grass reminded me of Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket. It’s somehow surreal and realistic at the same time but I guess life is just that way. This is basically a character study with a bit of crime and romance on top. And with a runtime of just ninety minutes it’s also quite watchable as a weekday movie.
Director: Tim Blake Nelson
Writer: Tim Blake Nelson
Cast: Edward Norton, Lucy DeVito, Tim Blake Nelson, Susan Sarandon, Ty Burrell, Melanie Lynskey
Fun Stuff: Tim Blake Nelson wrote the script with Norton in mind and without him there would be no Leaves of Grass.
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1151359/