The Extra Man (2010)
A sophisticated and moving comedy, THE EXTRA MAN follows Louis Ives (Paul Dano), a lonely dreamer who fancies himself the hero of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel... When a deeply embarrassing incident forces him to leave his job at an exclusive Princeton prep school, Louis heads to New York City to make a fresh start. He quickly finds a nine-to-five job at an environmental magazine, where he encounters an entrancing, green-obsessed co-worker Mary (Katie Holmes). But it's Louis' new home life that really sparks his imagination. He rents a room in the ramshackle apartment of Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline), a penniless, wildly eccentric but brilliant playwright. When Henry's not dancing alone to obscure music or singing operettas, he's performing - with great panache - the duties of an "extra man", a social escort for the wealthy widows of Manhattan high society. These two men, separated in age by more than forty years, develop a volatile mentor/apprentice relationship. Through a series of urban adventures where they encounter everything from a leaping lion to a wildly jealous hirsute neighbor, from drunken nonagenarians to a shady Swiss hunchback, Louis and Henry form a memorable bond that bridges their differences.-- (C) Magnolia … More
as Henry Holmes
as Louis Ives
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Paul Dano Talks The Extra Man
Critics Consensus: Dinner for Schmucks Serves Up An OK Time
– Rotten Tomatoes
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Critic Reviews for The Extra Man
Kevin Kline's tour de force, a performance of uncommon joie de vivre.
A typical Sundance type comedy that confuses quirkiness with humor. Needless to say, it stars Paul Dano in his typically weird character role. A totally annoying film.
Belly laughs are few and far between but the overarching tone of silliness deftly underscored by the human experience makes for a largely fulfilling cinematic experience.
Kevin Kline, who has a gift for this kind of characterization, heads up a talented trio of actors, all playing extremely quirky characters who are borderline pathological, but funny and harmless.
The pic becomes too bent out of shape by so many kooks sharing the spotlight.
Harrison's life is a quest only for pleasure, and Kline and Dano definitely provide it, even if their arc is short and shallow. See it for Kevin.
I loved Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's The Extra Man, but it's not going to be to everyone's liking.
The episodic script is all verve and no wit, a relentless tribute to nonconformity that starts to exhaust its goofiness after the first hour.
While directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are busy tipping their caps to their favorite literary figures, they seem to forget their obligation to good movie-making.
Too clever for its own good, this film moves abruptly between serious drama and broad comedy.
...so full of improbabilities (you begin to wonder if anyone connected with the film has actually been to New York) that the whole experience just becomes wearying.
An entertaining kinky kick of a movie, a lightweight delight about dreamers and dilettantes.
"Extra Man" is a loving ode to the eccentrics of New York, and a wish that even in today's Disneyfied Manhattan, the city will always make room for the weirdos, too.
The Extra Man is a disappointment coming from Berman and Pulcini, whose American Splendor was an imaginative biopic about the late comic-book author Harvey Pekar.
As paltry and unsubstantial a film as The Extra Man is, I cannot find it within myself to completely resist its charms. The reason can be summed up in two incandescent words: Kevin Kline.
The movie sags whenever Kline is offscreen, and when he's on screen, his presence and his character take over completely -- something that the filmmakers, and certainly Dano, did not intend.
Dano and Kline are very fine performers. So why is this comedy such a chore? The answer appears to be whimsy overload.
Audience Reviews for The Extra Man
A former English professor with curiosities about his sexual identity rooms with a modern-day fop in Manhattan.
This is a quirky, whimsical comedy that has more than a few chuckle lines delivered by the irrepressible Kevin Kline. Kline's character is a fop, a fool who fancies himself a gentleman, and with over-wrought aphorisms his instruction of Louis, played by the demure Paul Dano, provides much of the film's delightful comic moments.
There are times when the film overdoes its quirk, especially in the falsetto voice of John C. Reilly and some of the situations Louis's sexuality puts him into. On the flip side is the Katie Holmes character; the bland actress plays "the girl," a part with no personality and little use to the film's plot.
Overall, The Extra Man features of a fine comic team in Kline and Dano, but their talents could have been put to better use had the film been more subtle; if only Miranda July, who adds just the right pinches of quirk, could have directed it...
Been passing over this one at Blockbuster for a while now. Mostly I was interested to see this for Lecy Goranson. There was nothing else there of interest.
Having watched it, that's still true. Story is okay, young guy who enjoys cross dressing
Loses his job and winds up moving and sharing a flat with a much older man who works as an escort. It's a bit slow and some of the characters I just found irritating.
Lecy is only in it for five minutes at the end, but that scene is a highlight and quite funny.
It's an okay movie to watch just once, but missing it would be okay too.
"They're not gigolos, they're gentlemen."
A man who escorts wealthy widows in New York's Upper East Side takes a young aspiring playwright under his wing.
Bring Clifton Webb forward 60 years, add wackiness, and you have Kevin Kline as the eccentric bachelor in a rent-stabilized dump on the Upper East Side (yes, there are such flats still). His new roomie played by Paul Dano has a poignance, a sad yearning that I haven't seen conveyed so well since Timothy Bottoms in "Last Picture Show." Dano has the sort of face you only see nowadays looking at you across time in family pictures from a century ago or more. The face is ingenuous, pure. The kind of face that America just doesn't make anymore.
Both characters have built protective walls around themselves, perhaps necessarily. Though they fascinate each other, and unintentionally entertain each other, they can't decide whether or not to be real allies.
The older man depends on super-annuated ladies of wealth for his dining out and his winters in Florida. The younger man, though straight, enjoys wearing ladies lingerie while having sex. It can be all a bit depressing. But there's a soft landing, a nice ending to this opus all around.
I have always liked Kevin Kline, but even he couldn't save this movie for me. Mostly boring with very few, tiny laughs. Paul Dano really does nothing for the film. Dano and Kline play the Odd Couple very well, but the very slow-moving, go-nowhere, boring script makes the whole thing most uninteresting. Sad really. I had high hopes for this...More
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