Normal Life review

There comes a moment in every film when you have to decide whether you give a toss about the characters. If you do, fine - - if the film-makers have been doing their jobs, these should be so well realised and neatly established that you just have to find out what happens to them. On the other hand, in far too many films, you tend to realise about halfway through that you don't give a damn if any of them live, die or give it all up to become piano tuners. Normal Life is like that.

You have Chris (Beverly Hills 90210 lantern-jaw Perry), a caring, thoughtful and, above all, wet cop, who somehow falls in love with Pam (Ashley Judd) - a manic depressive who also happens to be psychotic, demanding, self-centred and completely unloveable. Within the first half-hour she's given him so much grief that you want to slap him hard around the face with a large haddock when he suddenly asks her to marry him.

Once hitched, the grief escalates. Pam seems hell-bent on self-destruction via booze, pills and frittering away all their money on expensive telescopes and sharp knives. Chris wants a cosy life, but any fool can see that he's never going to get it with this mad, deranged cow in tow. So what does he do? He buys her a puppy to cheer her up. She then turns up to his dad's funeral on rollerblades.

By now they've both wound you up so much that you cruise through the rest of the film on a wave of indifference. Chris quits the force. He starts robbing banks to solve their money problems, and she joins in, getting off on the "wearing tights over your head" thrill of it all. But he has enough and wants to live a Normal Life, so she gets stroppy because she likes robbing banks... But so what? We don't care! By the end, when (surprise, surprise) she talks him into yet more robberies, it's a relief to know that the grey-suited Feds are onto them and that it's all going to end in a hail of 9mm bullets. But even then, Chris still has one limp, dog-eared ace up his sleeve...

As an exercise in maximising audience apathy, Normal Life is a triumph. As entertainment, it's an unmitigated disaster. We'd go so far as to say you'd be insulting your buttocks to sit on them for the length of this pile of... well, arse.

To sum up: do it, you stupid, brain-addled, bank-robbing, credit-card-addicted oxygen thief. Do it, do it, do it, do it.

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