Friday, August 13, 2010
The Extra Man
It is time for boyish-looking Paul Dano to hire a new agent, because he has been repeating himself and playing similar characters. In this new comedy "The Extra Man" (USA 2010 | 108 min.), Paul Dano plays almost the same character as in "The Good Heart" last year. His character is still shy, awkward, soft-spoken, needing a place to stay, and dealing with a crazy old man under the same roof. The only difference is that this time, his character has a new hobby: cross-dressing.
Based on a novel by Jonathan Ames, the film tells a story about three oddballs living in an old New York apartment, if it were not their cellphones, the story would have been mistaken as in the '50s or the '60s.
Louis (Paul Dano) loses his teaching job and moves to New York City to pursue a new life. When he met the eccentric and slick Henry (Kevin Kline), who has been working as "an extra man" to escort older wealthy women. Henry's estranged mechanic Gershon (John C. Reilly), whose long hair makes him look like homeless, lives downstairs. He occasionally joins Louis and Henry to make the odd couple's daily routines even more bizarre.
The film tries hard to be funny, but hardly succeeds. It awkwardly hustles together three individuals who have completely different personalities, except all lonely, hoping for some magical moments to happen. Those moments never come.
Although three talented actors are casted in the leading roles, they cannot change the fate of these dreadful characters. Kevin Kline never stops talking like Bill Murray and moving like Robin Williams. Paul Dano constantly mumbles like, well, Paul Dano. Unlike the frequent annoying voiceover, John C. Reilly is mute for the most part in the film. Actually, that is pretty funny, especially with the long hair.
New York is a big city that has all walks of life and all sorts of characters. Even so, these characters in the film seem too odd to this city. Indeed, they are extra men to the City, and to each other.