This omniscient voice-over comedy might appeal to those who enjoyed last year's Me and Orson Welles, though with an off-center expressive edginess to it and less character arc.
The Extra Man stars Paul Dano, Kevin Kline, Katie Holmes, and John C. Reilly, and features colorful character interplay with droll dialogue.
Like Orson Welles, the main character isn't the title character, but Dano's naive Louis who has just lost his English professor position.
Louis relocates to the Big Apple with aspirations as a playwright and is able to share a place with Kline's compulsive and repressed Henry. The old-world oddball allows Louis to enter his milieu as he escorts millionaire widows around the Upper East Side.
Holmes has a nice part as the reasonable girl Louis has a tetchy rapport with while under Henry's wing. Meanwhile, Louis has some personal issues especially as he desires a new look but finds it hard to communicate with those closest in his circle.
Directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (The Nanny Diaries) are able to visually stylize when it comes to flashbacks and a fantasy feel. As writers they provide the actors with the ideas to be considered solid sparring conversationalists. Some of the low-key amusement works off of the clashing as deeper feelings try to be controlled.
A chameleonic Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) and Kline nicely let us into the immaturity, uncertainty and judgmental nature of their characters with one echoing more of one or two than all in this creditable cinematic lifelikeness. And, John C. Reilly (good in the triangle dramedy Cyrus) provides some lanate laughing moments as a neighbor.
The Extra Man can't quite provide a palable payoff even through all of the awkwardness and discovery of what is more out there than thought to be. With doses of warmth and ostentatiousness, a textured coming-of-age picture is finally more absorbing for its talented leads than an intrigued audience.
|The Extra Man||B-||B-|