The lives of a set of identical twins, one an Ivy League philosophy professor, the other a small-time and brilliant marijuana grower, intertwine when the professor is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown for a doomed scheme against a local drug lord.Written by
Written by John Prine
Performed by John Prine
Published by Walden Music o/b/o itself and Sour Grapes (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing See more »
Edward Norton's Terrific Performance(s) Only Saves This Film Up to a Point
I enjoyed "Leaves of Grass" for awhile, until writer/director Tim Blake Nelson, who also has a supporting role in the film as a hillbilly pothead, tired me out with his insistence on pushing the film into directions it just didn't make sense for it to go.
Edward Norton is immensely enjoyable as a pair of twin brothers, one an intellectual from the city, the other a country bumpkin with a major marijuana operation, who are reunited after the country brother fakes his death to persuade the other to visit home (a home he has shunned) and then drags him unwillingly into a shady scheme involving some other drug dealers once he gets him down there. There was plenty of interesting potential to be had in the story of these two very different brothers who maybe aren't quite as different as they think they are, but Nelson insists on throwing in a bunch of other distracting plot strands that make what should have been a low-key comedy something schizophrenic and exasperating. The film is only 105 minutes long, yet we have a storyline involving the brothers' mom (played by Susan Sarandon) and the city brother's estrangement from her; a love interest for the city brother (Keri Russell) who recites Walt Whitman poetry while filleting a catfish; the whole drug war storyline that gets queasily violent; and the dumbest storyline of all, involving an orthodontist in debt who hatches a half-assed blackmail scheme. I think Nelson is going for black comedy with much of his film, but he doesn't succeed; the abrupt changes in tone are jarring, and one of the violent scenes at the end involving the orthodontist character is downright tacky.
This movie is a prime example of what happens when a lot of talent is assembled and then squandered by a bad screenplay and unsure direction.
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