An Old Normal
With a fear of flying, surgeon Dr. Lisa Leland (Candace Cameron Bure - Let It Snow) decides to make the journey by car when she leaves Los Angeles to move to the Hamptons to be with her boyfriend, a doctor to the rich and famous. But when she is pulled over for speeding a series of unpaid parking tickets come to light and then she accidentally drives into a road sign. It leads to Lisa finding herself up in front of the judge (Lou Beatty Jr. - Welcome to Paradise) in the small town of Normal, North Carolina. Unable to pay the charges which the judge decides upon he orders her to do 3 days community service working as the town's doctor forcing her to stay in Normal and experience some small town life.
Anyone over the age of thirty, who loves movies, and maybe a few under, will read that synopsis for "Finding Normal" and probably think this Pure Flix movie sounds very familiar to the Michael J. Fox movie "Doc Hollywood", and in some ways they wouldn't be wrong. But whilst "Doc Hollywood" was all about Michael J. Fox playing the full of himself city doctor finding love in a small town "Finding Normal" adds a layer of meaning to it. As such whilst we get the expected element of Lisa's less that flattering initial opinion of small town people changed by the friendships she makes we also get her having a soul changing experience as she begins to realise that there is more to life than herself and what she thought she wanted. And trust me the wholesomeness of this with Doc Shelby and others offering some faith and bible based wisdom is charming and even for someone who is a Christian a timely reminder.
But there is also the typical side to "Finding Normal" with the antagonistic hate love relationship which forms between Lisa and Lucas, a local who she insults when she first meets him. On top of that there are the equally typical performances with Candace Cameron Bure making Lisa initially annoying before bringing out the goodness of the character whilst all the time looking attractive, it isn't important but I don't think I have ever watched a movie with Candace Cameron Bure in it where she doesn't look attractive. In fact whilst Bure is the star of "Finding Normal" it is Lou Beatty Jr. as the laid back Doc Shelby who steals many a scene due to the laid back and wise nature of his character which has something a bit Morgan Freeman-esque about his nature.
What this all boils down to is that "Finding Normal" takes the familiar story of city slicker stuck in a small town for a few days and finding themselves changing. But "Finding Normal" puts more heart and soul into it by focusing on the message rather than the humour and romance, and that simple change of focus is enough to make "Finding Normal" work.