Precocious, bohemian teenager Placid Lake, finishes high school and decides to do the one thing that will annoy his new age parents the most—go straight! With a few weeks spent reading a library of self-help manuals, Placid has it all sorted out—and he has the haircut and the cheap suit to prove it.
Can Placid Lake retire his rage in the pursuit of beige; embrace conformity and leap on the fast track to corporate success. Will his 'brainiac' friend Gemma be able to talk him out of this economic rationalist madness? And will poor Doug and Sylvia survive the ignominy of having a son with a burgeoning future in insurance? Never underestimate the evil of banality.
This Australian gem, written and directed by Tony McNamara, was nominated for multiple awards among moviegoers and critics in Australia, and won Best Screenplay (AFI), and the Australian Writers Guild.
The movie can be viewed on Hulu.
This movie contains examples of:
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Placid is so embarrassed by his hippie parents (who among other things send him to his first day of school in a girl's uniform) that he deliberately becomes the ultimate conformist.
- Arc Words: "Living the dream." It's even the motto (translated into Latin) of the high school.
- Blatant Lies: A lot of what Placid tells his boss. Amusingly enough, his boss sees through him but is amused by Placid's BS and so lets him get away with it.
- Brainy Brunette: Gemma.
- Broken Ace: Joel, Placid's boss at the insurance company.Hope I didn't freak you out with the pill-popping and vomiting up blood thing.
- The Cameo: Claire Danes at the insurance agency.
- Conversational Troping: Placid and Gemma, when Placid leaves for work at the insurance agency. Played more as banter than pointed discussion.
- Cool Loser: Placid could be considered this. Potentially averted, since it's brought up that he convinced one of the popular girls (Jenny) to have sex with him. See Manipulative Bastard.
- Dragged into Drag: Young Placid's parents sending him to his first day of school in a dress. Subverted slightly by the fact that Placid's mother is trying to challenge gender stereotypes."Darling, just remember you're challenging their pre-conceived notions of sexuality."
- Hands-Off Parenting: Placid's parents
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Placid, to humorous effect, since his parents are horrified by his quest for normality.
- Manipulative Bastard: Placid, in spades.Jenny: You tricked me into having sex with you!Placid: How? By talking to you? By connecting with something deep within you?Jenny: Yes! ...Don't look at me like that.Placid: I'm looking at a facade, on top of a person who I think has something special inside of her, who hasn't got the guts to show it, who wants to hide who she really is, but is torn because she wants to burst out and say, "This is who I am, what I want, but have I the courage to be free of them?"Jenny: God. You're doing it again, aren't you?
- Nerd Glasses: Gemma.
- Relationship Upgrade: Placid and Gemma at the very end.
- Suddenly Sexuality: Bull. Especially since his Coming-Out Story is very casually regarded. Sylvia could be considered another example, though her bisexual event is played off as just another part of her really liberal attitude in general.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: In-universe, the original version of Placid's film, Life is Super Dooper.
- Terrible Trio: Bull, Lachie, and Angus.