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Normal Life Review

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Faced with spiralling debt a man makes the obvious choice and becomes a violent bank robber.

★★★★

Luke Perry - sporting the most unconvincing 'tache in movie history - is Chris, an all American cop with a fatal attraction for blonde wild child Pam (Judd), a dizzy credit card abuser with a penchant for astronomy and alcohol as well as an incapacity in the orgasm department. The couple fall deeply in love only for Chris to lose his job after criticising the heavy handed techniques of his redneck colleagues. Faced with a daunting debt after yet another of his loony wife's extravagant shopping sprees, he makes the obvious choice and becomes a violent bank robber. An unexpected side-effect of this mid-life career U-turn is Pam's sudden ability to rise to truly spectacular levels of sexual ecstasy, most notably in a lunatic sequence in which she dances, clad only in her panties, while waving her husband's gun about suggestively.

Bits of this are so bad they're funny. Perry's big beard disguise makes him look like a refugee from ZZ Top and Judd's erotic writhings are, frankly, laughable. But most of it is so poor it's just irritating. Perry's performance stinks, Judd's stinks worse and director McNaughton doesn't give any explanation or examination of the transition between cop and robber which could have given the story some psychological depth. The whole shebang is "based on a true story," a phrase which McNaughton seems to think excuses him from giving his actors a shred of emotional credibility. Feckless bilge.

Dreadful, in a word. Or risible, if you must have two. In fact, director John McNaughton's attempts to cash in on the current craze for middle-America set crime capers conjures up a range of adjectives, none of them unfortunately in the least bit flattering.