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Perfectly Normal

Year: 1990
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 104 min
Director: Yves Simoneau
Producer: Michael Burns
Executive Producer: Rafe Engle
Writer: Eugene Lipinski, Paul Quarrington
Cinematographer: Alain Dostie
Editor: Ronald Sanders
Sound: Douglas Ganton, David Appleby, Don White
Music: Richard Grégoire
Cast: Kenneth Welsh, Eugene Lipinski, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Riley, Deborah Duchene, Patricia Gage
Production Company: Bialystock and Bloom

Shy, withdrawn Renzo Parachii (Michael Riley) is stifled by his monotonous existence: days spent working at a small-town Ontario brewery followed by lonely midnights shift driving a cab to make ends meet. Renzo’s sole pleasures are tending goal for the brewery hockey team and a hidden passion for opera. After the unexpected death of his mother, Renzo plunges into a deep depression, only to be befriended by a shady entrepreneur named Turner (Robbie Coltrane), who is all too willing to help Renzo spend his inheritance.

Turner persuades Renzo to open the first restaurant in their backwater burg to feature tuxedo-clad waiters and be dedicated entirely to opera. It will be called La Traviata and Turner and Renzo will perform the love duet from Bellini’s "Norma" on opening night! Renzo has dreams of building a house in the country and soon becomes involved with Denise (Deborah Duchene), but he keeps being pulled back into the vortex of Turner’s schemes. After deciding to think big and follow Turner’s plan, Renzo’s classy opening night of opera and linguine turns into a hilarious hockey brawl.

This entertaining comedy features standout performances by Robbie Coltrane and Michael Riley, and by Kenneth Welsh as an over-the-top, Don Cherry-esque coach. The slow-motion game sequences work perfectly with the classical soundtrack and director Yves Simoneau infuses the film with his usual panache and visual flourish, while also injecting a Québécois sensibility into this Anglo-Canadian tale. Reasonably well received by critics in Canada and the United States, Perfectly Normal was nominated for four Genie Awards and won the prize for Original Screenplay (Eugene Lipinski, Paul Quarrington).

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