No Ordinary Family – A Thrilling Movie

No Ordinary Family – A Thrilling Movie

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“The Hard Way: Risky Business in New York” (aka “The Pimp”) is an interesting and thought-provoking film from the 1990s that’s worth seeing just for the sequences featuring Tom Hanks. Ecstatic when his parents go on vacation for several days, young high school senior Joel Goodman (Tom Hanks) flashes back to his troubled youth. Forced to work in a men’s club after his parents split up, he ends up pimped by a woman who takes advantage of his depression.

Less than a year later, Joel is pimped again, this time by a hooker named Bronson pinchot (Ann-Margret). Intent on using the prostitution business as a way out of his marital problems, Bronson snatches away Joel’s savings and blankets his wife with threats of divorce. When his parents go on a vacation, Joel’s mother takes him and his older brother Sid (Philip Seymour Hoffman) along with the rest of the family to go to grandma’s, where he hopes to meet “a real girl.” Everything goes well until the girl gets kidnapped by a pair of drifters, and Joel and his family must fight to free themselves from the clutches of the evil “Pimps” (played by hulking David Strickland). Meanwhile, Joel runs into hooker-turned-pimper Kalmia (Dana Barron), who wants to get serious with him.

The movie focuses on Joel and Kalmia’s journey across the country, facing the perils of male chauvinism, racism, homophobia and sexism along the way. Their quest to find “the woman of their dreams” eventually takes them through three states (New Hampshire, Michigan and Wisconsin) in search of the perfect long-term relationship. However, as they try to save the girl, Joel suffers a heart attack and has to be hospitalized. Meanwhile, Reba (Debra Messing) returns to her life as a call girl, while Joel continues to struggle with depression and loneliness. When he recovers, he realizes that he has to go back to New Hampshire in order to clear his name, while also pursuing the woman of his dreams.

I’ve seen countless movies about the old time rock and roll lives, but nothing beats the emotional power and comedy of No Ordinary Family. The storyline and acting is what sells it, as Messing and Coppola make the characters believable and fun to watch. The chemistry between Coppola and Messing is also what makes it a gem. They both have great onscreen chemistry, making them capable of drawing viewers in and making them want to see more of what could be in the final reel. In one scene, Bob Seger can be heard asking, “Are you a brickman?”

As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Reba’s past has been preventing her from moving forward in her life, and that she’d be better off dating an old friend of hers, rather than trying to find a man to commit to. Once the couple reunites, they both realize that it was only a matter of time before they decided to quit the risky business. Unfortunately, they run into an old friend of theirs named Rebecca De Mornay (Haylie Duff). Although she may look like the proverbial glass of water in the end, Rebecca has a secret that will ultimately determine the outcome of No Ordinary Family.

The movie explores various themes including race, class, sex, love, relationships, betrayal, and much more. It’s a hilarious movie that keeps you laughing from start to finish. The late Steve Martin turns in another great performance as the comic relief character, and Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller do a wonderful job at playing the mom and dad characters. One of the best scenes takes place when Reba and Rebecca are arguing about the costs of her plan to take care of their daughter, with Reba saying that she doesn’t know how anyone ever makes money off of old time rock and roll. This movie is just as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids, so take your kids to see this fantastic movie and make them some popcorn, some candy, and let them enjoy watching some old time rock and roll.

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