deadCenter Review: ‘The Extra Man’
“The Extra Man”
Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
Husband and wife team Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who directed the wonderful “American Splendor” in 2003, have a knack for combining the ordinary and the strange, and they do so impeccably in “The Extra Man,” an exceedingly smart and hilarious comedy of contradictions. Jonathan Ames joins the duo in adapting his novel for the screen.
Kevin Kline does his best comedic work since “A Fish Called Wanda” as Henry Harrison, a self-styled cultured aristocrat who nevertheless drives a dilapidated deathtrap on wheels and possesses embarrassingly backward opinions about just about everything. Paul Dano stars as Louis Ives, an aspiring writer who thinks of himself as a dapper character in a Fitzgerald novel, but is rather shellshocked by everything around him.
Louis begins renting a room in Henry’s apartment, and the two become friends despite their respective secrets. Henry is an “extra man,” a kind of escort for elderly and wealthy debutantes, while Louis is a budding cross-dresser. Henry lets Louis in on his secret; Louis does not reciprocate voluntarily.
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