The Rage in Placid Lake, unfortunately, is not a showdown between Muhammad Ali and a giant alligator (which would be awesome). Rather, Placid Lake is the name of a human being who is the protagonist of this movie. As if naming this dude “Placid Lake” weren’t bad enough, his mother sends him to his first day of school in a dress, in order to “challenge the preconceived notions of sexuality.” As a result of this crazy woman’s need to break gender boundaries, Placid gets beat up every day until he graduates high school. He tries to avoid the daily beat-downs, but it’s no use; his parents set him up for failure. So he figures, if I can’t beat ’em, I’ll join ’em. He gets a haircut, buys a suit, gets a corporate job, and totally sticks it to his parents, but at the same time he may end up ruining the only healthy relationship he has.
Considering the movie is called “The Rage in Placid Lake,” I would have expected more rage. I think a better name for this movie would have been “The Indignation in Placid Lake.” Placid is clearly bothered by his parents and his life, but there’s never much rage. There is one scene where he screams in front of a mirror, and another where he yells at his parents, but who hasn’t done that? I’ve yelled at my parents plenty – where’s my movie? Regardless, it’s still enjoyable. Ben Lee (who apparently is some sort of musician) gives a solid and funny performance as Placid, and Rose Byrne is super cute and terrific as the quasi-love interest, Gemma. Also, Claire Danes makes a baffling cameo. Plus, the movie is shot in Australia, and it’s fun pointing out the quirky little things they’ve got down under (like doorknobs mounted at shoulder height).
All in all, The Rage in Placid Lake is watchable, though nothing totally noteworthy. As far as coming-of-age comedies go, it’s alright. Ten years ago I might have found some sort of profound meaning to this story, but now that I’m married and boring, it was just a nice movie to watch with the wife on a weeknight. If you’re hard pressed to find a movie, this one should do.
I give The Rage in Placid Lake: 3 out of 5 wallabies