Combustible Celluloid
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With: Billie Joe Armstrong, Selma Blair, Judy Greer, Madisyn Shipman, Dallas Roberts, Chris Messina, Fred Armisen, John Doman, Mia Dillon, Brian Baumgartner, Sean Gunn, Valentine Miele, Kevin Corrigan, Rick Younger, Lucas Papaelias, Ron Simons, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Joan Jett
Written by: Lee Kirk
Directed by: Lee Kirk
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 86
Date: 10/14/2016

Ordinary World (2016)

2 Stars (out of 4)

When He Comes Around

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Rocker Billie Joe Armstrong, from the band Green Day, trades in his day job for a lead acting role in a slightly charming, but thin and overly awkward comedy-drama of a musician's mid-life freak-out. As good as he may be on records, on stage, or in music videos, Armstrong doesn't have the skill to carry a lead role, even one as slight as this, although he does get by on his shabby appeal.

Armstrong plays musician Perry, just turning 40, his rock 'n' roll dreams far behind him, but not very good at adulthood either. He forgets to put out the trash, and botches simple errands, like bringing a new guitar to his daughter's school talent show. Worse, his wife (Selma Blair) seems to have forgotten his birthday. Working with his brother (Chris Messina) in their father's hardware store, he is given the day off to blow off steam. He winds up getting a room at the Drake Hotel, where a party gets out of hand. He meets an old flame (Judy Greer), who now works for Joan Jett, and his old band shows up. But Perry has to figure out his life before his daughter gets on stage.

Ordinary World — originally titled Geezer — simply plows through the center of the story without caring about the margins; it has no life. Armstrong's character Perry is so thinly written that it's hard to watch — and hard to believe — as he blithely sabotages his own life. The other actors clearly out of balance, especially since their characters have all been written directly in relation to Perry; they exist only to react to him. Only Selma Blair transcends the material in a funny, loving moment at the movie's end. Otherwise, writer/director Lee Kirk presents this as a comedy that isn't funny, stopping for poignant moments that largely aren't.

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