Movie Review: ‘Ordinary World’
Starring: Billie Joe Armstrong, Selma Blair, and Fred Armisen
Plot: A punk rocker turned family man tries to relive the glory days on his 40th birthday.
Green Day was one of 5 bands that made up the soundtrack to my teenage years (along with Foo Fighters, The Living End, Alkaline Trio, and Less Than Jake). I have probably seen Green Day more than any other band, so I am very familiar with Bille Joe Armstrong’s enthusiastic stage presenced. Mix that with his well-received turn on Broadway in the play based on Green Day’s album, American Idiot, and I was kind of excited to see what Billie Joe could do in a cinematic role.I was left fairly disappointed.
The role is right about Billie Joe’s alley. He plays a former punk rocker, who is now running his late father’s hardware store that he shares with his smarter, more responsible brother. His wife (played by Selma Blair) is a public defender, who still geuninely seems to find his manchild ways charming, however, everyone is completely outcharmed by Madisyn Shipman as Billie Joe and Blair’s daughter. When everyone seems to have forgotten his birthday, the big four-oh, his brother gives him $1,000 to blow off some steam. He gets the Presidential suite in a swanky hotel and invites his old bandmates over for a nostalic hangout. If you can’t see where this is already going, things get out of hand when more and more party crashers show up to make matters worse.
Billie Joe actually delivers on some of the bigger emotions. The anger. The sadness. The sense of humor. If this were a sitcom, Billie Joe would have been in a better position, but this is a small indie dramedy, so there is actually a lot of casual conversational dialog that requires a little more nuance. Billie Joe is not great in these scenes. He gets through it, but he would have been better in a supporting role. The lead was over his head.
It doesn’t help matters that filmmaker Lee Kirk seems completely uninterested in the party and the bygone rockstar lifestyle that Billie Joe’s character pines for. Instead, Billie Joe is given doofus-family-man errands to run like meeting his visiting in-laws to let them into his home. A much more interesting story involving some really funny people like Kevin Corrigan and Fred Armisen as Billie Joe’s former bandmates is happening in the suite while we are stuck with Billie Joe picking up his daughter’s new guitar from the music shop. Billie Joe’s aging former rock star is simply not given an arc. It is painfully obvious that this lifestyle is already behind him, and the only lost love he seems to have with his old friends revolves around them partying too loudly stopping him from some quality nap time (Yes! That actually happens in this movie!)