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|Index||30 reviews in total|
Kevin Kline creates the sort of character we haven't seen in a long time, not since Clifton Webb, Noel Coward or even George Sanders, an actor dares to step into the uncomfortable zone with so much wit and panache. He is the reason to see the film and in my book, that's reason enough. Paul Dano is wonderful but he projects a strange feeling. As if he has been removed from the pot a bit too quickly. He doesn't look quite done yet. Thoroughly undercooked. One has the overwhelming feeling, he won't be able to survive in this world. The film, as film, doesn't have the aspirations of Paul Schrader's "The Walker" nor its darkness but if you're not put off by a slightly tentative direction, you're in for a treat.
Jonathan Ames, a writer of eccentric novels, penned the book on which
this bizarre film is based. His story of confused identities and
searching for a workable concept of self was adapted for the screen by
Ames with help from co-directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer
Berman. It is a confusing tale to watch but has moments of comedic
insight and a cat of well- known actors that help to make the film
entertaining if a bit of fluff.
We meet English teacher Louis Ives (Paul Dano) after a prelude of daydreaming the three factors that characterize Louis - his obsession with classic literature of the 1920s, his untrained perception of how to relate to people ('awkward' would be a kind term), and his penchant for fantasizing about cross dressing. He is dismissed from his school 'due to budget cuts' (read 'having been discovered trying on a bra and being caught by the headmaster'), yet his inappropriate response is one of glee at having been given the opportunity to move to Manhattan to become a writer.
Once in New York City without connections, he answers an ad for an inexpensive apartment sharing the ad having been submitted by one very strange Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline), an older down on his heels writer and playwright who supports himself teaching college level literature and who considers himself an aristocrat, serving as an 'escort' for older wealthy women. After an uncomfortable interview Henry consents to allow Louis to be his roommate: after weighing his options Louis accepts the room in the flea infested filthy apartment and begins trying to get to know the secretive and zany Henry.
Henry provides companionship for one Vivian (Marion Seldes) and eventually Louis is brought in as an 'extra man' to provide companionship for one of Vivian's friends (Celia Watson). In the meantime Louis finds work as a telephone salesman for a Green magazine, meets the pretty but unavailable Mary (Katie Holmes), begins to encounter Henry's entourage of loonies such as Henry's bearded and dirty repairman Gershon (John C. Reilly), and gives in to his urge to learn about cross-dressing by visiting a 'teacher ' and finally a make-over artist who places him in the role of a 'woman'. Louis' experience with transvestism fails and alienates Henry for a brief time. But what this comedic episode results in is Louis' discovery of what is important friends and family and Henry and his entourage supply that and the changes this brings in all the characters draws the film to a close.
With a cast such as this we find ourselves wanting to connect with each character bizarre though they all are and to a degree this occurs. But the script is spotty and the direction is bumpy and in many ways it feels as though the film simply never gets off the ground. Good moments: no after taste to savor.
This movie actually took me by surprise.
First of all, let me start off by saying that the story is so compelling and spellbinding that it will blow you away. There is just something about this movie that is so unique in every way.
The characters in this movie are so fantastically unique, quirky and lovable. It all just came together for a greater unity. The role of Louis Ives (played by Paul Dano) was the quirkiest of all, struggling to find his place in life, dealing with his sexuality and the admiration of Henry and trying to find acceptance. And I must admit that Paul Dano portrayed his character in a very good way; he was awesome in this movie. And his resemblance to a young Liam Neeson is just uncanny.
Moving on to the role of Henry Harrison (played by Kevin Kline), well his role was eccentric and strict. But, as usual, Kline put on a magnificent performance. He is very charismatic and have a good voice. He is indeed one of the better actors of recent times.
And also, not forgetting, the strange character of Gershon Gruen (played by John C. Reilly) was also very memorable and lovable, especially his voice.
In all fairness, then this movie worked so good on all levels. However, I think that a share of people might be put off by the movie, as it does have that certain epic cinema moment to it, and also dealing with (and I use this term in lack of better) sexually deviant behavior. For me, I found that aspect of the movie to be one of the driving factors, because it showed how Louis Ives was struggling to find himself and dealing with his needs.
The movie is very beautiful in more than one way. The story is beautiful, the cinematography is beautiful, the music is beautiful, and so forth. This is one of the better movies I have seen in a while. It is a fresh breath of change in the movie scene for me. Nice with a movie that stands out from the mainstream comedies, and dares to be so unique as it is.
If you haven't already seen "The Extra Man", then you owe it to yourself to do so, especially if you are (like me) a lover of the cinema and movies. This is a story that will stay with you for a long, long time.
Thumbs up, way, way up from me!
Way too much will be given away if I attempt to describe the storyline. Suffice it to say that even a total lack or overabundance of plot wouldn't detract from its fascination quotient if you enjoy edginess and the unexpected, A side of NYC life never before portrayed on screen. How "real" does it feel? Totally besides the point with direction and acting of the highest caliber. Some of the best tales are stories you don't believe until after you've seen them played out; reality isn't what it's cracked up to be where thoughtful playfulness takes precedence. Despite the tag-line, there is indeed erotica at work on screen, but sexuality is never depicted for its own sake. More emotional than carnal knowledge gets exhibited here. Wonderfully diverse soundtrack ranging from classical/opera to T-Rex and Velvet Underground. Totally haunting film experience that's not a blockbuster but needs to be seen by people who can appreciate "quirk." This film should become a cult classic at the very least and a long-running topic of conversation at cocktail parties. A "sleeper' in the best sense of the term. If you see it and "get it," you will enjoy bonding with others of like minds.
Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline) is "The Extra Man", but to him, he's an
"essential man". He seems to live in a time and class that he doesn't
physically occupy. Louis Ives (Paul Dano) would really just like to be
a character in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. These characteristics were
so intriguing at the beginning of the film because there are a lot of
thoughtful and interesting directions to take it.
They make a great pairing, except for the fact that Henry isn't just homophobic, but proudly and defiantly, extremely homophobic, and Louis is proudly and completely confused. And neither of them understand the nature of their friendship. When the film chooses to explore Louis' inner transvestite and getting deeper into Henry's obsession as the essential man, everything just gets weird.
"The Extra Man" is an extremely intelligent film. There was clearly a lot of effort put into the writing, the characters, the acting and the making of this film, but the weird directions it took were too much for me. I want to recommend it to those who like smart, philosophical, but weird, independent films. Just look out for some "sexually deviant behaviour".
i saw this movie because I am a John C Reilly fan, however, much to my
chagrin, even with his minor role, this gave me many genuine deep "what
the f%$#" laughs. I also like Paul Dano and think he really played this
character well. His look of horror at his woman self was priceless,
especially when he had to dodge flying Christmas ornaments from harry.
it was quirky yet boldly in-touch and the humor spoke to me. It was a movie that I watched by myself on a lonely night and it certainly took me out of my head.
this is the only movie I have ever watched that I was motivated to write the review for.
An interesting movie, full of off beat laughs and phenomenal acting by Kevin Kline and Paul Dano and John C. Reilly. Intellectually stimulating, fun, and most importantly, different than the average movie. Paul Dano is brilliantly cast as a young writer who has some confusion about his sexuality and also feels he is meant to be in another era. Kevin Kline is hilarious as an off beat character whose political and social views are quite out of the ordinary. The movie allows the audience to ponder, while not being overly ambiguous. The scene at the beach when John C. Reilly sings and Kevin Kline teaches Paul Dano to dance, is a keeper for my memory bank. "Get me off this Godforsaken beach. I need alcohol and civilization".
Great to see Kevin Kline in a witty role again. Cleverly written lines give some snickers, excellent techniques at times transported me. The physical slapstick was a little off, but the gags made up for it. If you like Kevin Kline, you'll like this movie. Give it a try. It will appeal to the astute mind. The rich old women are entertaining and the glimpses of the other side of life are sensitively done, with tongue in cheek. The metaphor of the pigeons is a clever one observed by Henry (Kevin Kline) himself, in this high-brow yet Oscar Wildeish thrust-and-parry into the world of the Henry and his protégé, the young gentleman. Ending on a feel-good note with the credits rolling to a zany variation of a Marc Bolan written T-Rex number 'Dandy in the Underworld'. 8/10.
I have not seen Kevin Kline as funny as he is here in "The Extra Man," since his Oscar winning "A Fish Called Wanda," I thought he would be hysterical as Artemus Gordon in "The Wild Wild West," but I was terribly mistaken. Kline redeems his comic traits in "The Extra Man," the character is zany, and eccentric, fully of mystery, and entertaining stories. His young protégé is also entertaining, with humor, and drama. I thought John C. Riley's performance was quite hilarious, even if it is a small role. The 3 mens antics as a team are funny as well as touching. I would definitely recommend this film be seen. *****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
a great ensemble of good story and cinematography, well established
characters, nice acting and well chosen soundtrack...I simply couldn't
find out why its not a masterpiece. But you'll certainly see something
Paul Dano is brilliant in his role as Louis Ives, the young gentleman who struggles about his sexual identity and being born late to this world... Kevin Kline is great in playing the eccentric landlord.
The story is great but it has some flaws in the script, such an original movie should have had some catchy, clever lines. there should have been more references to Fitzgerald and James since the character is a teacher of English literature and basically lives the life of a gentleman of old times
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