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Ashley Jones is Perfectly Normal

USA 2021
produced by
Hana Yuka Sano, Kev Stock, Skip Short (executive) for Triple Crown Films, CronicLove Productions, Platform12
directed by Thomas Bangert
starring Hana Yuka Sano, Loa Allebach, Chris Yeschenko, Coby J. Marcum, Hallie Newcomer, Marc Herrmann, Joshua B. Stock, Canyon Prince, Dave Marandola, Steve N. Bradford, Jon Cates, Enya Stewart, Carson Dougherty, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Mike Ferguson, Gary Voelker, Hidetoshi Imura, Natsuko Aoike, Brandon Root, Jonathan De Aquino, Randy Oppenheimer, Arlan Godthaab, Daniel Benton, Kristopher Mitchell, Ebun Brown, Elizabeth J. Cron, Erika Holzhausen, Daniel Dunker, Jordan Sommerlad, Camila Villanueva, Nicolette Hogan, Michael Caverhill, Kate Skales (voice), Kev Stock (voice)
written by Thomas Bangert, Kev Stock, music by Benjamin Krause

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Ashley Jones (Hana Yuka Sano) lives a perfectly normal life, she's a low level TV reporter on something as uneventful as local news, is married to straight-as-an-arrow Larry (Chris Yeschenko), who's the epitomy of a creature of habit who doesn't like surprises, and the two eat the same meals at the same restaurant every week on date night, and take the same holidays every year. And if it's up to Ashley and Larry, things are to stay that way for the remainder of their lives, and as long as nothing big happens, things are bound to stay that way - and then something does happen, one morning Ashley wakes up with a thick Japanese accent. At first she tries to hide the fact, but of course that doesn't go well for long, and soon she's deemed unfit for on-camera work - but what's worse, Larry can't handle that level of change and leaves her. And when at a party she tries to meet new men, she finds herself totally unfit for the dating world, so much so that she falls out with her best friend Tiffany (Hallie Newcomer) because she got friendly with Tiffany's would-be boyfriend Dwayne (Marc Herrmann). She tries everything to lose her accent, from speech therapy to a foreign accent syndrome support group, but nobody takes her all that seriously, one because as an Asian American, a Japanese accent seems quite fitting for her, and two because she hasn't been hit on the head - usually the cause of foreign accent syndrome. Then she gets the chance of her lifetime to win her old job back, but for that she needs to find a woman, Evie (Loa Allebach), she has stumbled upon during one of her reports, who has claimed she's 500,000 years old, whom she is to interview on TV. Ashley finds Evie, but rather than a total crackpot, she finds her to be a very level-headed woman - who just seems to believe she's as old as time itself (give or take of course). And Evie helps Ashley to open up, to accept her new self, and break out of her so far disappointingly normal life. The two become great friends, and Ashley really likes Evie - but she knows Evie is also the only ticket to get back her old job, but if she's to interview her on camera, Evie's to become the laughing stock for the audience ...

 

A quirky comedy that, despite its slightly far-fetched premise, proves to be lots of fun, thanks to a cleverly crafted screenplay that all but relies on its central joke but only uses it as initial catalyst for things to come. And while the story has lots of heart, it avoids the cheesiness that often takes down comedies of its ilk, instead spreads a positive message as a by-product of the goings-on rather than focusing on message rather than content. And Hana Yuka Sano's central performance is suitable relatable and also pretty funny but without ever going moronic, and she's supported by an able ensemble, to make this one a rather pleasant watch.

 

 

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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