The Plot: In the Extra Man, we see Louis Ives (Paul Dano), as 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 a goodie two shoes, green-obsessed co-worker Mary (Katie Holmes). 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 sneaking into the theaters to a wildly jealous neighbor, from drunken parties to a shady Swiss hunchback, Louis and Henry form a memorable bond that bridges their differences.
Verdict: Whoaaa! We were bowled over! Every once in a while, a quirky and daring comedy comes along that hits more than it misses. The Extra Man was just such a delight to watch!
This show start off as such a bleakly comic, you don’t know to laugh or cry. What I love about “The Extra Man” is how, the movie is shot – a sophisticated film, full of really cool shots of Manhattan, a gorgeous music score and fine character actors like Dano, Kline and John C. Reilly as a mysterious bearded neighbor. I have no comments about Katie Holmes – she was dull and boring, as she is. Louis and Henry end up as the most unlikely of roommates in a cramped and cluttered New York City apartment. One is a closet cross dresser whilst the other is a gigolo/male escort (the extra man). Whilst the older man is loud, excentric and rude, the younger man is shy and malleable. Henry is really funny in this scene where he screams at the waitress in the diner to stop serving him coffee. His obnoxious, sexist personality works well in this movie and had me in stitches in many of the scenes. However, as the story unfolds, we see Henry’s outrageous behavior and rudeness is a protective covering and so is Louis’ lack of personality – he goes along with everything so that if no one knows the real him, then no one can get close enough to hurt him.
This Jonathan Ames’ novel is completely brought to life on screen by co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini and you should get ready to be whisked away on a whirlwind tour of “gigoloism” and excursions to the tranny side of the tracks!