"Mow Crew" harvesting dreams
Don't let the catchy title throw you off, if you're not familiar with landscaping lingo. "Mow Crew" is not the name of some mega-decibel hard-rock band, but a romantic comedy about a team of summer lawn mowers working on the Vineyard. It was shot entirely on Martha's Vineyard.
While attending Emerson College in Boston, writer/director Taylor Toole spent summers working for Tea Lane Nursery's mowing crew. In the movie, his Tea Lane boss, Matt Tobin, plays a character similar to himself. The director is especially grateful that Mr. Tobin lent him trucks and equipment for the film, which was shot in May 2008, the busiest time of year for landscapers.
Mr. Toole has spun that experience into a charming story about a couple who play music at local hangouts like the Lampost in Oak Bluffs and dream of hitting the big time, so they can leave their day jobs behind.
When an agent hears them play, they get the chance of a lifetime - a Los Angeles record deal. But is it really a dream come true? After all, life on the Vineyard can be pretty sweet, while the big city might wind up grinding them up and spitting them out.
On their last day before leaving Martha's Vineyard, Eric (Aaron Lloyd Barr) lets himself get talked into going back to work when a member of the mow crew doesn't show up. And life becomes comically complicated.
Events are made even more interesting by a rival mowing crew that likes to play dirty tricks on their competitors, and by a new member of the crew, Doboy, who has a habit of screwing up. Played by New York actor Cleo Berry, Doboy is Falstaffian in size, and Mr. Toole takes full advantage of his girth to create some funny scenes.
Eric's girlfriend, Sage (Saara Untracht-Oakner), is understandably put out by her boyfriend's decision to work instead of pack, but she also has a few of her own dilemmas to resolve. Her sister Sabrina is a walking train-wreck, and her dad is a recovering alcoholic and jailbird. When Sabrina ends up in the hospital, Sage has to decide whether or not to pay the hefty medical bill out of the couple's traveling stash. It doesn't help, either, that Eric runs into a seductive ex-girlfriend.