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The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank (1978)

A comedy-drama about a New York couple who decided to dump the hassle of the big city, pack up the kids and move to what they think is the easy life of suburbia.


Robert Day


Erma Bombeck (book), Dick Clair | 1 more credit »


Credited cast:
Vicki Belmonte Vicki Belmonte ... Helen Wentworth
Barbara Allyne Bennet Barbara Allyne Bennet ... Woman with Tea Pot
Carol Burnett ... Dorothy Benson
Chris Dekker Chris Dekker ... Pitcher
Edwina Gough Edwina Gough ... Marci
Linda Gray ... Leslie Corliss
Charles Grodin ... Jim Benson
David Hollander ... Davie Benson
Craig Richard Nelson ... Hal Watson
Frank Reilly Frank Reilly ... Brother Bud
Alex Rocco ... Ralph Corliss
Robert Sampson ... Lester Wentworth
Eric Stoltz ... Steve Benson
Morgan Upton ... Mr. Loring
Annrae Walterhouse Annrae Walterhouse ... Kelly Benson
Learn more

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A comedy-drama about a New York couple who decided to dump the hassle of the big city, pack up the kids and move to what they think is the easy life of suburbia.

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based on book | See All (1) »



User Reviews

"How are you gonna write about life if you don't live it a little?"
29 January 2017 | by BERSERKERpoetrySee all my reviews

I've always felt a real attraction to the early heyday of 1970s-80s television movies. Often, and perhaps at their best, they were adaptations of novels or screenplays deemed either too low-key for cinema or uncomplicated enough to manage on a small budget. Something like "The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank" is an ideal example of both. It plays very much like a pilot for a TV series, and as far as family comedy/drama shows go, it would have made a very good one.

It's an easy film to believe, though everything is secondary to the roles of Carol Burnett and Charles Grodin. Burnett is busy channeling elements of everything she played on her 11-year variety show, and it works well in the framework of sarcastic dialogue. She plays it up a bit like a screwball comedy, but it works because she's just as believable in dramatic scenes. Grodin is convincing playing what tended to be a very typical role for him – the bemused, confused, slightly put-upon straight man. There's good humor in the gentle absurdity.

In fact, gentle absurdity would be a good enough summary of the film. It's not too sad or too funny, but it IS funny and it's familiar. There's a steady anxiety, and a lot of social humor. Like life in general, you laugh at what you know, and get on with things. While in no way being about anything big, "The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank" convincingly shows you small slices of life – and at the risk of being sarcastic (though still keeping with the mood), some cut deeper than others.

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Release Date:

25 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Donde la hierba es más verde See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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