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Special (2006)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 13

This quirky indie comedy's low budget is readily apparent, but it's elevated by Michael Rapaport's dedicated performance.


Average Rating: 4.7/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 7

This quirky indie comedy's low budget is readily apparent, but it's elevated by Michael Rapaport's dedicated performance.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 29,518

My Rating

Movie Info

Les Franken is a kind-hearted and soft-spoken man who loves reading comic books. He's the type of guy who most people walk by on the street without even noticing; in essence, he's completely average and virtually invisible. However, everything changes for Les the day he is accepted into an experimental drug study for a new and exciting anti-depressant, Specioprin Hydrochloride. As Les begins to take the drugs an unexpected side effect occurs--he begins to develop special powers: the ability to




Mar 31, 2009

Magnet Releasing - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (13) | DVD (4)

I just thought it was a cool indie film with a great leading performance from an actor we don't usually get to see in a lead.

November 24, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The premise is intriguing, and the film is occasionally amusing, but it feels stuck between a completely satirical farce and an aching drama.

November 24, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies | Comment (1)
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rappaport does a yeoman's job in this tonally confused oddity.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It may not be perfect, but this under-the-radar indie from Hal Haberman and Jeremy Passmore is smart enough to leave you glad you found it.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ultimately it adds little to our understanding of the curious return of the superhero as our paradigmatic pop archetype.

November 21, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its ambitions are limited -- though at 81 minutes, wisely proportioned -- but its heart is in the right place.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Special offers a unique spin on the superhero template but rarely soars beyond its sly premise.

March 31, 2009 Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch?
What Would Toto Watch?

The quiet-yet-hip tone of the film reminded me a lot of Roger Dodger, another indie film that let's its script and acting do the talking.

February 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

Eccentric, depressing thriller won't grab teens' attention.

January 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

Special works as an honest portrait of little people with big dreams even if it remains itself a little movie without a big impact.

November 26, 2008 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

The sight of him, bloodied but eternally unbowed, in his ridiculous, homemade superhero costume may indeed be totally iconic for true pulp believers.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Take[s] a page from the cartoonist Bill Watterson, who noted of the tiger protagonist in his great Calvin & Hobbes, 'The nature of [the character's] reality doesn't interest me, and each story goes out of its way to avoid resolving the issue.'

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

Shot for pennies -- a cash limitation that benefits the production's creativity and credibility -- this haunting film keeps shifting the ground under our feet

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly
I.E. Weekly

A beautiful metaphor for the desperate need to be important in a world where we rarely make personal connections any more, Special deserves to be seen.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: UGO

What begins as a mildly amusing indie lark descends into a depressingly unappealing exercise in mico-budget filmmaking.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source:

A great genre film dissects authentic problems without attempting to supplant them. Reasonably enough, Special belongs to that category with the rest of Magnet's Six Shooter Series.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

This fantasy battle between good and evil is merely a cute, minor idea with little depth and even less conscious purpose, fit for a 15-minute short rather than a feature-length narrative.

November 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Special

Michael Rapaport makes you believe in the character, this is one of the best performances I've seen from him. The story is actually brilliantly written although I don't think we should be told from the beginning that his powers are in fact in his conscious and not real until the end of the film, it would have certainly been a lot better than the rubbish last scene we where left with. I like the style, the effects and the overall feel to the film, a few tweaks here and there and it would have been awesome. Much better than Super and Griff the Invisible but still not as good as Defendor.
August 23, 2012

Super Reviewer

What happens when a parking meter cop with low self-esteem gets super powers? What if he just believes he has super powers even though they're just hallucinations? It's kind of a funny premise, and with a target as big as the modern pharmaceutical industry, you think it'd be rife with wicked satire, but "Special" is more content to be a psychological study of an insecure man on the verge of madness. Les (Michael Rapaport) is a mild-mannered loser who signs up for an experimental new drug designed to boost self-confidence. The drug works wonders for most in the test group, but for Les, a man obsessed with comic books and super heroes, it gives him the illusion he's garnered some new and unique super powers of his own, which he, of course, must use to combat evil wherever he may find it (usually at the local convenience store). The financial backers of this new wonder drug find out about Les' super hero adventuring, mainly due to him wearing their logo on the back of his homemade superhero suit, and are displeased to see some nut scaring off the pharmaceutical company they were hoping to sell it to, and so they begin to try and hush him up (which only serves to fuel his paranoia). As I said, it's a movie detailing a man's descent into madness, and while is has moments of comedy, it's very dark to be sure. Filmed on an obviously tight budget, the filmmakers make the most of what money they have to use. The movie really isn't bad, that is, until the final act, where they kind of lose focus (and steam). The ending is a bit of a mess. Still, it's not a bad attempt at a movie.
July 16, 2012
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

A nerdy, social misfit volunteers for an experimental medical study of a new drug and discovers that the pills give him super powers.

Back in high school I knew this guy who was kinda tall, had curly red hair, freckles, and was a total prick. Michael Rapaport looks a lot like that guy. Now, that's not Michael Rapaport's fault, but every time I see him, in my mind, I see that other ass-hole. Why, you ask, am I telling you this? Because for me to say that Michael Rapaport is good in anything he has to be really (REALLY) good. In this film, he's good.
December 3, 2009
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

A churning, dark drama that inexplicably bills itself as satirical or humorous. The concept: to play out dark psychological drama against a paper-thin backdrop of comic-book heroism is jarring to say the least... especially when the self-importance of such a backdrop is continually torn and punctured by the presence of the reality underneath it all. This isn't a film about a superhero dealing with being human, or a human trying to be a superhero. In the end, its an average human dealing with being human and getting very messed up in the process.

Sadly, the plot is riddled with holes, and a small array of cinematic stylizations that eventually wear a bit thin.

It takes a bit of effort to see past the low-budgeted hurdles... but such effort is rewarded with a glimpse of the inspired acting by Rapaport (the film beautifully abuses his nice-guy persona) as well as the simple yet grittily accented story underneath it all.

A unique presentation of a depressing concept, which falters more often than it flies. Yet unlike other films, whose failures confuse or anger, one can clearly see (and enjoy) the film that lies beneath the blemishes. That achievement alone is something to be celebrated, and is the essence of independent film-making.
July 28, 2009

Super Reviewer

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