Perry (Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong) is on the cusp of turning 40 and has no real clue what he is doing with his life. His band is on an extended “hiatus” and he works with his brother (Chris Messina) at their family-owned hardware store. In Lee Kirk’s Ordinary World, we spend a day with Perry, who thinks he is going through a mid-life crisis but really is having a bout of Peter Pan syndrome. He just is ready to accept adult life.
The premise should sound entirely familiar because we have seen grown men refuse to grow up on screen countless times before. Ordinary World does nothing to break the mold or have fun with the blueprint; Kirk’s script simply goes through the motions. Perry loves his wife, Karen (Selma Blair), who is tasked with being the adult of the house and example for their two children, but he seems restless as a domesticated animal. He’s not going to let the big 4-0 keep him down.
His brother gives him $1,000 cash and tells him to go have a party and celebrate his birthday and get whatever is bothering him out of his system. He calls everyone he knows – primarily ex-bandmates – to come party with him at the Presidential suite at the Drake Hotel. It’s a weekday afternoon, mind you.
Ordinary World doesn’t take advantage enough of the struggle within Perry. Does he really still want to spend his days partying or does he thinks this is what he has to do to still be cool? The film haphazardly ping-pongs between Perry’s family responsibilities and the ever-growing rager at the Drake. But ultimately, who cares?
Perry is such a thinly drawn character, comprised of clichés rather than nuance. Armstrong, in his first leading role, doesn’t make much of a compelling leading man. From his presence to his delivery, Armstrong isn’t able to convince us that he cares enough about Perry, so why should we?
This is Kirk’s second feature, after he had shown great promise in his directorial debut, The Giant Mechanical Man, which featured Chris Messina and Jenna Fischer in an off-beat, Chaplin-esque romance. That is a film worth seeking out instead of Ordinary World, which is harmless but just a little too – well – ordinary.
Verdict: 1 out of 5
Billie Joe Armstrong is an awkward and unconvincing leading man in Ordinary World. We never believe he is Perry, dealing with a looming mid-life crisis, and Armstrong makes no attempts to dig deep into the character. It doesn’t help that writer-director Lee Kirk doesn’t give him much to work with.