An Old Normal
With a fear of flying, surgeon Dr. Lisa Leland (Candace Cameron Bure) decides to make the journey by car when she leaves Los Angeles to move to the Hamptons with her boyfriend, a doctor to the rich and famous. But after being pulled over for speeding, being discovered to have many unpaid parking tickets and then accidentally driving into a road sign Lisa finds herself hauled in front of the judge (Lou Beatty Jr.) 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.
Anyone over the age of 30 who loves movies and maybe a few under will read that synopsis for "Finding Normal" and probably think that sounds very familiar to the Michael J. Fox movie "Doc Hollywood" and they wouldn't be wrong. But let me say right now the focus of the movie is a little different as whilst "Doc Hollywood" was all about the fun of a big city doctor finding love and life in a small town "Finding Normal" does the same but does so with more meaning. For example Lisa initially thinks everyone in Normal is a dumb hick but finds her preconceived ideas challenged time and again. Basically "Finding Normal" tries to be more wholesome family entertainment with more touching moments and some soul which it succeeds on being.
But there is also the typical side to "Finding Normal" with the antagonistic hate love relationship which forms between Lisa and Luke, a local who she insults when she first meets. On top of that there are the typical performances with Candace Cameron Bure delivering initially annoying then finding the good heart of the character whilst all the time looking attractive. In fact whilst Bure is the star of "Finding Normal" is it Lou Beatty Jr. as the laid back Doc Shelby who steals many a scene due to the laid back nature of the character which has something a bit Morgan Freeman-esque about him.
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 herself changing but puts more heart and soul into it by focusing on the message rather than the humour. And that simple change of focus is enough to make "Finding Normal" work.