If “The Little Greenie” (George Flynn) is playing on your DVD player and you’re seeing it out of your own free will, you must either know someone involved in its making or you have absolutely nothing more productive to do in 110 minutes of time. Originally a play by Reginald Vann, “The Little Greenie” is nearly two hours of torture for anyone with any standards when it comes to what sorts of nonsense one will or will not tolerate in a film. Before I continue with my cautionary words, though, I must clarify that “The Little Greenie” won’t assault your moral values, corrupt any virgin minds, or convince you that people are basically evil. I doubt the director intended for his film to be so bad that potential viewers will laugh themselves to insanity.
“The Little Greenie” is about ingratitude, rich people, and the ingratitude that rich people have for their servants, particularly their butler of fifty years—their butler named John who is about to retire and, for no logical explanation, cut from the paterfamilias’s will. Understandably upset, John blows off steam at the local bar and meets a law student named Vincent, who’s a little irritated too. After consuming a decent amount alcohol and learning each other’s sob stories (Vincent lost a girl to a richer guy), they agree to con the butler’s employers, the Pattersons, out of 17 million dollars. The plan is for Vincent to fake getting hit by John’s car, entering the Patterson’s house on this pretense, and of course to charm the daughter into marriage. Do they get away with it? I’m not telling, but not because I don’t want to ruin it for you. I’m not going to say if John and Vincent prove to be adept deceivers because there are more pressing matters to discuss.
For example, the film can’t make up its mind on whether or not it’s taking itself seriously. It is virtually impossible to determine if “The Little Greenie” is campy, a perfunctory try at satire, or just plain bad. The cast over-acts, the lighting is reminiscent of a dull British sitcom, the editing is amateurish, and the audio is inexcusably substandard. Usually, the soundtrack needs improvements due to issues concerning the volume (too loud or too soft; or the voices are eclipsed by background music), but in “The Little Greenie,” the audio alternates between clear one moment and muffled the next. It is the aural equivalent of footage that thoughtlessly goes in and out of focus—it’s unbearable.
Should you feel that poorly recorded audio isn’t a valid enough reason to stay away from Flynn’s film, then perhaps acting skills (or lack thereof) will make for a more tenable case. The acting is initially no worse than “non-professional,” which may have value in its own absurd way. But the minute you observe that the actors are overdoing it, and that they might be on the verge of giggling, you can’t help but laugh yourself. The film is now so bad that it’s funny, but humor that is humorous by default is not laudable. If you decide to test your level of tolerance for horribly executed cinema by watching “The Little Greenie,” brace yourself. Keep the remote within convenient reach.