More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 0 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Charlie's Angels (2019) by Jay Seaver

Harriet by Jay Seaver

Greener Grass by Jay Seaver

Two Tigers by Jay Seaver

Dare to Stop Us by Jay Seaver

White Snake by Jay Seaver

Knives Out by Peter Sobczynski

21 Bridges by Jay Seaver

Frozen 2 by Peter Sobczynski

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

Extra Man, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"Sock paint and the comfort of panties"
3 stars

I wouldn’t classify “The Extra Man” as particularly motivated, but it definitely reaches for a level of eccentricity that’s just barely within its grasp. It’s a character piece, adapted from the novel by Jonathan Ames, delivered in an iffy fashion from filmmakers unsure of what they hope to achieve from such roving storytelling. Still, there’s a satisfying range of actors presented here who don’t exactly provide comfort, but they have a heck of a time feeling around the film for peculiar character beats.

Louis Ives (Paul Dano) has been fired from his collegiate teaching position, pushing the meek, literary-minded soul to try out New York City for a fresh start. Finding a roommate in failed playwright Henry (Kevin Kline), Louis soon becomes fascinated with the older man, studying his peculiarities, growing obsessed with his job as an escort for older women. Dealing with his own secret sexual tastes and a fixation on his co-worker, Mary (Katie Holmes), Louis looks to Henry to provide a sense of guidance, enchanted by the chaos of his finicky roommate’s life, looking to one day possess the same screwy self-confidence.

As the minds that drove the idiosyncratic 2003 feature, “American Splendor,” directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini bring a similar colorful energy to “The Extra Man,” once again surveying the life of eccentrics on the verge of collapse. Aiming for something in the area of a black comedy, the filmmakers turn the picture into an episodic event, following Louis as his eyes are opened to possibilities of a life lived without inhibitions, led around by a possible liar and lousy womanizer drowning in his heavily practiced malarkey.

Setting a consistent tone isn’t what “Extra Man” is trying to do. It’s a wandering piece, looking to cherry pick the best conflicts and surprises for the characters, but I was never convinced the film had a sense of humor, or much of anything for that matter. Instead, it’s a parade of oddity without much of an emotional hook on which to hang the outpouring of excessive behavior. The only real subplot that shows consistency in purpose belongs to Louis, who struggles with his urge to cross-dress, taking baby steps through hookers (a nice turn from Patty D’Arbanville) and transvestite make-up artists to find his true self, though fearful of what he might find. The bra-snatching excursion makes good use of Dano’s colorless screen presence, while supplying the film with an extended, convincing depiction of inner turmoil. The rest of the film only asks its characters to float in and out of the story, leaving little to click into.

As usual, Kline is memorable as the daffy roomie, keeping the hectic spirit of the film elevated while the filmmakers scramble to find something to say. Also contributing to the randomness wonderfully is John C. Reilly, here as a heavily bearded, intimidating pal of Henry’s, soon revealed to be in possession of a particularly squeaky voice. The actors do make a pleasant impression with their articulation of quirk, getting the film out of a few tight spots of stasis with their ability to surprise.

“The Extra Man” is easy to endure, but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression, despite a story that almost demands discomfort from the viewer. It’s never openly engaging, but there’s a certain mischief to the piece that pleases.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/30/10 23:46:55
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2010 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Independent Film Festival Boston 2010 For more in the Independent Film Festival Boston 2010 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.

Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  30-Jul-2010 (R)
  DVD: 16-Nov-2010


  30-Jul-2010 (M)
  DVD: 16-Nov-2010

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast