Movie review of "Ordinary World”: Billie Joe Armstrong, of Green Day fame, plays a subdued, impulsive family man who has a midlife crisis on his birthday. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
This month is pretty good for Billie Joe Armstrong, lead vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter for the tuneful if ferociously rhythmic pop-punk band Green Day.
The longtime group just released a typically ambitious and often politically charged album (“Revolution Radio”), which includes the title track from the new film “Ordinary World.” In that smart and funny comedy — a gentle, Gen-X take on harsher movies about family men adrift from daily life — Armstrong plays a rudderless, former punk rocker going through a midlife crisis.
Movie Review ★★★
‘Ordinary World,’ with Billie Joe Armstrong, Selma Blair, Madisyn Shipman, Fred Armisen, Judy Greer, Chris Messina, Brian Baumgartner. Written and directed by Lee Kirk. 87 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Varsity.
We meet Armstrong’s distractible character, Perry, as a carefree 20-year-old guitarist-singer in a band on the brink of success. Cut to present-day, and the now-bespectacled musician — looking like a rumpled Clark Kent repressing the Superman within — awakens to domestic duties.
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There’s a preteen daughter, Salome (Madisyn Shipman), preparing for a talent show in the evening; a baby with a full diaper; coasters to put under juice glasses; a public-defender wife, Karen (Selma Blair), whose parents are arriving later; and Perry’s shift at a hardware store — a job for which he is miserably unsuited.
A forgetful, overwhelmed Perry will make a mess of the day’s responsibilities. Then again, no one has remembered it’s his 40th birthday. Feeling lost in his own life, he rents an expensive hotel suite and blows off steam with a party that flies out of control.
Armstrong is charming throughout this crisp, handsome feature by Lee Kirk, who wisely fills out the comic cast with heavy hitters: Judy Greer, Fred Armisen and Brian Baumgartner among them.
But the film distinguishes itself by what it lacks: simple, unrealistic answers to Perry’s regrets and the hole in his soul. His path to authenticity might not lead back to glory days, but contentment is closer than he thinks.