‘Norman Pinski Come Home’ Is an off-kilter comedy about a family who’s suffered the tragic loss of their son Norman, due to being struck by lightning. Norman’s parents, Gabe and Louise Pinski, aren’t coping well with their loss, constantly arguing and unable to fully come around to the fact that their child has moved on — or has he? In a clever homage to the Mel Brook’s classic ‘Young Frankenstein’, Norman has been reanimated by a local baldness doctor/evil genius Dr. Vanderwal, but still not fully himself, can norman’s parent bring their son back, or will Norman stay a science experiment of Dr. Vanderwal?
When first diving into this short film, you’re immediately reminded of ‘Young Frankenstein’. From the opening title’s text to the offbeat and charming humor brought in by Norman’s parents, there is a lot to like about this short. A lot of the reason it works is due to the performances by Gabe and Louis Pinski, played by Bern Cohen and Elaine Bromka. I really enjoyed their relationship, Gabe being a cranky old man who when Norman come home is hardly excited to greet. Louis being the overbearing mother who is completely naive of the dangerous and unknown circumstances of how their son has returned, she’s just glad he’s back. This dynamic is the heart of the short and for the most part, plays well.
The camerawork is great, every shot is framed up perfectly in each moment. The lighting and sound are also good, I would go as far to say there really is really no issues on the technical side of the film. The story is simple, and clean, with a strong throughline till the end. I found a lot of the jokes to be charming, but maybe not ‘laugh out loud’ funny. The premise of the short is silly in itself, so It’s difficult to strike the right balance of comedy to not be too over-the-top. For example there are a couple scenes when Norman returns home where the laughs seem genuine, but towards the last moments of the film when Dr. Vanderwal is introduced, where the humor feels a little more forced than organic.
As well there was a bit of a missed opportunity in my opinion to bring in more meta-like humor, Norman clearly is made up to look like Frankenstein’s monster, but none of the characters notice this. It may have added a fun angle to see Norman’s parents realize this and reference it. I can understand why they wouldn’t want the short to be too self-referential. That being said, it was distracting to have no character notice the glaring similarities between the two. There may have been a little over-acting with the Dr.’s performance, and his accent is a little spotty, albeit doesn’t take away too much from the enjoyment of his performance.
With strong performances from its lead characters, and a charming tribute to a comedy classic, ‘Norman Pinski Come Home’ is sure to offer up servings of humor, nostalgia, and fun for anyone looking for an offbeat comedy.