Thursday, February 15, 2018

Keep Off My Grass! (1975)

A brief description makes counterculture comedy Keep Off My Grass! sound promising, since Micky Dolenz (of the Monkees) plays a sweet hippie kid searching for a place where he can nurture his little marijuana plant in peace. Unfortunately, that’s only one piece of a simultaneously overstuffed and underwhelming movie. Keep Off My Grass! begins with retailers on the main drag of a small city upset about hippies loitering in front of their stores. The retailers buy a small abandoned town and give it to the kids, who build their own society from scratch. Predictably, the hippies replicate the same Establishment hang-ups against which they once rebelled: capitalism, law and order, etc.  Done right, this movie could have become an essential satire of its period. Instead, Keep Off My Grass! is drab, shapeless, tonally inconsistent, and visually unimaginative. One subplot concerns a hippie guy who gets possessive about his lady. Another revolves around a young man who upsets his Jewish parents by shacking up with a hippie chick. And the Dolenz material mostly sidelines the endearing pot-plant angle for dreary vignettes of Dolenz’s character trying to lose his virginity. There’s also a needlessly dark subplot about folks living in the small town adjoining the hippie community taking extreme measures to drive the hippies away. Dolenz’s goofy charm isn’t nearly sufficient to make this stuff interesting to watch, especially since he only plays a supporting role, despite marketing materials implying he’s the star. FYI, Keep Off My Grass! features an early screen appearance by future TV star Gerald McRaney, whose casting as the rebellious Jewish kid is a bit of a stretch, and this was the only movie that comedian Shelley Berman ever directed. He did not miss his calling.

Keep Off My Grass!: LAME


top_cat_james said...

Was hoping this was a feature-length extension of "The Frodis Caper".

Bob Johns said...

You find the craziest movies

Guy Callaway said...


Noted and appreciated!
TCJ is referencing an episode of 'The Monkees' series co-written/directed by Mickey Dolenz.