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"Extras" Ben Stiller (2005)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Superb comedy from Messers Gervais and Merchant

Author: DVD_Connoisseur from England
22 February 2007

This episode was originally intended as the second in the series (the DVD has the correct running) but was moved forward, perhaps due to the better script or the presence of Ben Stiller. Whatever the reason, this is cracking comedy.

Stiller sends himself up brilliantly, portraying himself as an egotistical, power-mad actor turned director. Superb stuff.

Gervais is his simpering best as the struggling extra trying to coax a few lines out of a film's genocide witness and expert, Goran, and the film's producer. This is a cue for classic Gervais tragicomedy. You genuinely feel for the character of Andy Millman, an individual far removed from the self confident David Brent, as he slips into Larry David territory, i.e. speaking first, thinking afterwards.

The delightfully beautiful Ashley Jensen is a wonderful actress and lights up every scene she appears in.

This episode of "Extras" is a beautifully crafted show and a joy to watch.

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Ben Stiller

Author: Prismark10 from United Kingdom
28 December 2016

Ricky Gervais is wannabe actor Andy Millman eking out a living as an extra and hoping to get a part with lines. With best friend Maggie (Ashley Jensen) this is the tale living in the bottom of the acting chain.

In the first episode Ben Stiller sends himself up as an egotistical director making a east European set genocide film based on true events. This Ben Stiller will not pass up any opportunity to tell the various grosses of his movies in the worldwide box office.

Andy seeing Ben would do anything for Goran the man who the movie is based on and tries whatever he can to persuade Goran to get him a few extra lines.

Maggie meanwhile takes a shine to someone in the production but goes off him when she discovers he has one short leg. Meanwhile Andy tries to ingratiate with the producer of the movie by discussing classic Japanese cinema.

In the vein of The Office but with more humour the episode ends with Ben going bat crazy including insulting the genocide survivor.

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Ben Stiller is a serious liability.

Author: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzx from United States
16 September 2008

The premise for this series presents a challenge for its writers: using a different brand name actor in each episode among a more constant ensemble. The problem is well illustrated by watching just the first two episodes as presented on US release of DVD, Kate Winslet and Ben Stiller. Kate Winslet is a fabulous actor is both the star and a member of the entire team. She is funny and supports the others. I laughed a lot.

On the other hand, Ben Stiller is a serious liability in his episode. He simply does not have the acting ability to do this well. He is not funny and the show grinds to a halt whenever he has centre stage.

The contrast between these two episodes was so great that I went back through the credits to see if they had used different writers. No, it's all down to acting ability, or lack thereof.

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