Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Leaves of Grass

Sorry, mostly not the Walt Whitman variety...

What do you get when you combine Edward Norton playing twin brothers, one a world renowned classics professor, the other a rather sophisticated cultivator of cannabis?  Before you answer, there's also Susan Sarandon as their mom and former stoner who has cloistered herself in a retirement home; Richard Dreyfus as a Jewish mobster in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Keri Russell as a poet and award winning catfish noodler; and character actor Josh Pais (you'll recognize him when you see him) as a displaced Manhattan orthodontist.  Starring, written, and directed by Tim Blake Nelson (who is perhaps most memorable for his role in Brother Where Art Thou?) Leaves of Grass has a few too many sudden and shockingly realistic homicides to be a true comedy.  Still, there are many clever riffs on the myriad challenges in the life of a professional academic, the ethical conflict between pot growing purists and those trading in home-cooked pharmaceuticals, the number of synagogues in Tulsa, an infatuated student who expresses her unwanted affections in Latin, and the differences between Nazi and Hindu swastikas.  Quirky, weird, hilarious in spots, shocking in others, a stretch for several of its actors, and showing real affection towards its characters, I was pleasantly surprised by Leaves of Grass.

No comments:

Post a Comment