Movie Reviews - Featured Films » Independent Film Guide - N

Normal Life Movie Review

perry judd chris american

When Dylan McKay came back to Beverly Hills 90210 in November 1998, the show's devoted followers were thrilled, but the more cynical looked at his return and said, “Ah Hah! If he were Number One at the Boxoffice he wouldn't even consider episodic television.” Now who's saying this? Certainly no one who actually IS Numero Uno. Superstars are more aware than anyone of what a roller-coaster ride show business is. Nope, it's the voices of the countless observers who never will be on a magazine cover saying that if someone with Luke Perry's looks and talent has to make a bow-wow like American Strays (see review), what chance does anyone else have? Unlike American Strays, Normal Life, which first played at the Sundance Film Festival, is a good film, with excellent performances by Perry and co-star Ashley Judd. Based on fact and feeling like classic noir, Normal Life tells the story of Officer Chris Anderson and his wife Pam, who are on a fast track to Hell. She is Trouble and he knows it, but from the moment he first rescues her from a fight in a bar (a clear hint of trouble for any guy who actually wants a normal life), Chris is hooked. It isn't sex that chains Chris to Pam, but a deep emotional bond that defies logic and reason. He robs banks to give her a better life and when she finds out, she's revved up and ready to join him on a heist. Whenever Chris tries to set limits with Pam that might extend their life expectancy, she threatens divorce and he acquiesces to her every destructive demand. It isn't a pretty story and Perry and Judd don't play it pretty, which may be why this intriguing tale eventually played on cable television rather than in theatres. The Andersons are too dependent on the good life to make effective rebels and too whacked out as a couple to represent a cautionary fable about the American Dream. Like most of life, they make little sense, and Perry and Judd wisely tackle their characters from the gut so that, at least for 108 minutes, we can experience their ride, even if we don't understand it.

1996 (R) 108m/C Luke Perry, Ashley Judd, Bruce A. Young, Jim True, Dawn Maxey, Penelope Milford, Tom Towles; D: John McNaughton; W: Bob Schneider, Peg Haller; C: Jean De Segonzac. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

Nosferatu Movie Review [next] [back] Non-Stop New York Movie Review

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or