by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

"A deadly car accident brings together a group of previously unrelated people, each of whom is forced to deal with the emotional fallout."

Man, being Canadian is sweet. It's easy to create a Canadian masterpiece.

Step 1: Find an movie from the States that is widely considered to be excellent. The winner of a Best Picture Oscar is ideal. Let's say, for example, Crash.

Step 2: Get that script into your word processing software. Do a find/replace on "Los Angeles," substituting "Vancouver." Replace "New York" with "Toronto," and "Boston" with "Montreal." Read it through once more. You may have to clean up a little bit by replacing "Harvard" with "McGill" and so forth.

Step 3: To comply with the Canadian constitution, hire either Molly Parker or Callum Keith Rennie, preferably both.

Step 4: Pick up your awards. Wear warm clothing to the ceremony.

Actually, I'm just being silly. Although the premise sounds similar, Normal isn't really anything like Crash. For one thing, there's no racial component, because ... well, apparently because Canada, at least as pictured here, seems to be populated entirely by pale white people who have to focus their irrational hatred on ethnicity rather than race.

But that's not what the film is about. There are, to the best of my knowledge, no French-Canadians to be seen, although the manager of the pizza shop does have a 1970s porno moustache, so he might be a candidate, even though his last name is never revealed and his first name is not Pierre.

A high school basketball star was killed in a car crash some time ago, and every single person in Canada blames himself or herself for the boy's death. The driver of the other car thinks he is to blame, even though the courts ruled otherwise. The boy's best friend, who was driving their car, thinks he is to blame. His mother thinks it is because she didn't raise him right. The local Dominos guy thinks the accident could have been avoided if he had just gotten them that pizza three minutes earlier and a dollar cheaper. The kid's fourth grade teacher thinks he should have never failed him in geography. The guy whose car was stolen thinks it was his fault for owning such a tempting car. Famed goalie Dominik Hasek thinks he could have saved the kid, just as he saved so many sure goals over the years. OK, maybe I fabricated a few of those, but the point is that nobody thinks that maybe the kid might have created his own problem by joyriding around town in a stolen car.

If you're scoring at home, make up a list of every possible trite and hackneyed comment that one could possibly make about a loved one taken too soon. I think you will find that the characters in the film use every single one on your list, and several more you forgot. Sometimes the characters argue over which one has spouted the proper cliché! To be fair, the film does have a few good moments, but simply doesn't work overall, and there is one key reason. The part of the dead boy's mother, a role at the film's emotional core, is so unsympathetic that I kept thinking "God, why couldn't the accident have killed her instead?" After a string of irrational and contradictory tantrums, she finally ends the film by leaving her husband because - get this - he failed to demonstrate his grief in exactly the same way that she demonstrated hers. He dealt with the tragedy by going back to work and trying to resume his routine (as many people would have done), instead of joining her in a poor impersonation of Hamlet, complete with madness and grief-laden soliloquies. I guess that will teach him to be normal.

The mom finally gets some satisfaction at the end of the film when she fails to forgive the miserable, guilt-ravaged schmuck who was driving the other car, even though that guy is the only character in the film who seems to be a complex and decent human being, and is gently taking care of his autistic brother. The mom's callous treatment of the poor, sobbing dope finally beings a smile to her face, and the film ends!

Now that's rewarding drama, hoser-style!



Currently available only through Amazon Canada






No major reviews online.


5.5 IMDB summary (of 10)


None. It went from film festivals to DVD.


The good news is that mourning seems to have increased everyone's libido:

Lauren Lee Smith does the traditional Canadian three-name sex scene with Callum Keith Rennie.

Then Camille Sullivan does back-to-back sex scenes with Kevin Zegers and Andrew Airlie. First she fucks her step-son, then her husband comes home unexpectedly, so she has to seduce her husband to keep him from finding the boy in the bathroom.




Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: