Movie Review: A parent relives his punk past in”Ordinary World”


In “Ordinary World,” Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong plays an aging punk —  husband and dad years past his punk-rock peak — who decides the most punk thing he can still manage is to blow a wad of his hardware store-job cash on a party for himself in a high-end New York hotel room.

The movie reminds you of a perhaps unfair knock at those “American Idiots,” Green Day. It strains at cuteness.

Twenty years before, Perry pounded through sets at assorted punk-friendly clubs in greater New York. Now, the only music he makes is to mock-explain the expletives he and mom (Selma Blair) still let fly in front of their tweenage daughter and toddler.

He’s still got the wild mop of dyed hair. But now Perry’s the guy who yells, “How many times I gotta tell you, USE an ashtray?” when friends come over.

The other dads at school want him in their “Dad’s Group.” His brother (Chris Messina) is angling to buy his perpetually tardy butt out of the family hardware store.

And the wife has forgotten his birthday, a big one — his 40th.

Perry needs a break from “Dad mode.” He needs to remember “the old days.” He’d love to “get the band back together.”

So he takes his settlement cash from the store, marches over to The Drake Hotel and gets the biggest suite in the joint. He calls his drummer (Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” and “Portlandia”) and announces a party.

No, they don’t allow them in the suites at the Drake. No, there’s to be no punk music on that floor, even if that means his pals complain “You’re just no fun any more.”

And yes, that’s his old punk flame, now Joan Jett’s manager (Judy Greer) he runs into in the lobby.

“It’s AWESOME that you still say ‘Awesome!'”

Writer-director Lee Kirk’s script manages a few laugh-out-loud lines and moments, and Armstrong has an offhanded charm that plays well in a role tailor-made for him.

But “Ordinary World” is a little too enamored of the phrase “Truth in advertising.” It’s run of the mill, humdrum, “ordinary” in its set up, the “ticking clock” (Can Perry polish off the party in time to get her new guitar to his daughter before the big elementary school talent show?), and temptations (pricey booze, punking out, Judy Greer).

It plays like a reality TV pilot that’s a little too real (boring) for its own good.


MPAA Rating: unrated, with alcohol abuse, smoking, adult situations

Cast: Billie Joe Armstrong, Selma Blair, Fred Armisen, Judy Greer, Dallas Roberts

Credits: Written and directed by Lee Kirk. A Universal release.

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