Ever wonder what would happen if your favorite rockstar didn't make it big? Lee Kirk gives us a clue in his new movie “Ordinary World,” starring Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. Armstrong plays former rocker Perry Miller, now 40 with a wife and kids. Rather than spending nights partying and playing to large crowds, he's a forgetful dad working in his father's hardware store. Convinced his wife forgot about his birthday, he vows to throw a rager to celebrate but soon realizes his partying days are long gone.
Though you may initially come to see Armstrong, you stay for the story, which is pretty simple and straightforward. It may not be groundbreaking, but seeing someone fight through a midlife crisis draws you in. Armstrong does a surprisingly good job at bringing Perry to life. His acting isn't going to win any awards, but he made Perry relatable. He could be someone you know or even, yourself. Sometimes Armstrong laid it on too thick, but luckily it doesn't occur throughout the entire movie. Though he pulled off this role, you have to question how he would do in another starring role not playing a rockstar. There's a chance Armstrong was so good at the role because it's something he knows. Being a rockstar with two kids of his own, there's a chance he felt the tug of a mid-life crisis, though maybe not as strong as Perry.
The one thing the movie does is a good balance between drama and comedy. A story about a former rockstar dad who doesn't know where his life is going could be too depressing. Yet, Kirk keeps the mood somewhere between awkward and apathy with several laughable scenes. Some highlights include Perry convincing his brother the hardware store sells dish soap and freaking out over coasters in front of his much cooler friends. To ensure the movie isn’t only cheap jokes and cringe-worthy moments, there are heartfelt scenes mixed in that make you feel for the character. When Perry comes home and discovers his father-in-law finished the playhouse he made for his daughter, Salome, you feel bad for him. Rather than coming off as a pathetic loser, you want to reach out, hug him, and let him know everything will be okay.
Despite this, “Ordinary World” has its share of problems. At one hour and twenty-seven minutes, the movie still feels too long. It’s a pretty straightforward story and wraps up any conflicts in a neat package. But just when you think you’re about to see the obligatory happy ending, the film stretches out previous conflict for another fifteen minutes. It doesn’t affect the film too much, but it does make you go “This is still going?” The movie is also predictable. After watching the first ten minutes, you’ll figure out how the film will end. This doesn’t mean it’s not fun or interesting to see Perry reach this point. It’s just not really something you’ll be begging to watch over and over again. And some conflicts are cleaned up too much, like the rising tension with his brother or spending thousands of dollars at a hotel. By the time the movie ends, we don't see the brother again and we can only assume he somehow made all those payments to the hotel.
“Ordinary World’ isn’t perfect, nor is it groundbreaking. Rather, it’s a cute story about a father coming to terms with getting older. The story is at least engaging enough to draw viewers in and forget they’re watching the guy that fronts Green Day as a day job. Armstrong isn’t the best actor, but he actually wore the role well. It’s predictable, yet relatable, reminding us we all have to leave youth behind at some point.
"Ordinary World" is out on Blu-ray and digital video now.