Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Extra Man

The Extra Man is ridiculous. Did someone sketch out the plot and scenes on scratch paper in a library cubicle and then stop after the first draft? It is disjointed, choppy, and just an all around complete mess.

Kevin Kline goes back in eccentric mode (think Otto from A Fish Called Wanda) but his eccentricities amount to nothing. He plays a modern day gentleman who has no particular employment except accompanying elderly women to formal dinner functions. He makes it clear he is not a gigolo, but an 'extra man' to maintain the female/male balance in the room. He also has no discernible past to explore or future to discuss. He is strictly an in the moment character who exists so other characters can react to just how eccentric he is being at this very moment.

Paul Dano becomes his roommate after getting fired from his teaching job when his cross dressing interest takes over unexpectedly one afternoon. This fetish of his pops up every now and then in the film and could really be an interesting facet and issue to figure out, but no, we have to continually go back to Kevin Kline and remind ourselves how eccentric and odd he is being. John C. Reilly also shows up as an odd recluse with an unnaturally high voice.

The Extra Man is directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini who brought us the amazing American Splendor. Did they run out of ideas? Did they think that just having Kevin Kline playing an odd guy would carry a film? They were wrong on all counts.

This over written and over acted performance destroys any possibility that the rest of the film could make up for it. It's not a buddy movie, it's not a mentor/student movie, it's not a try and get the girl movie, and it's not a move to Manhattan and find yourself is muddled and confused nonsense.

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