Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
John C. Reilly
Kline plays to his strengths and gives a good performance as Henry Harrison, the fast-talking, snooty and unconventional part-time escort. Harrison is manic like a cartoon character and quirky like a typical “indie movie” guy—strangely against the education of women, randomly hating homeless people, and fearful of sex but working as a gigolo. We see him paint on socks, teach Paul Dano’s character how to piss in the street, and attempt to give fleas to a dog off his own body. He's funny, but iIf you’ve seen a film with offbeat sensibilities (something along the lines of RUNNING WITH SCISSORS), you’ve seen this character before.
THE EXTRA MAN is based on a book by Jonathan Ames, who created the great HBO show “Bored to Death.” This film shares some of that show’s same nature (a well off but troubled writer living in New York getting in to madcap adventures), but instead of endearing story arcs and lovable characters (seriously, is there a better cast on TV now than Schwartzman, Danson and Galifianakis?), THE EXTRA MAN goes straight for wacky weirdness and forgets about making you care about any of the people.
Dano does what he can with the main character, but aside from his fetish for undergarments and love for F. Scott Fitzgerald, Louis Ives is forgettable as a protagonist (except for the narration in his head, which is good for one or two memorable jokes). Thankfully he has a cast of oddball characters surrounding him, like Kline and a massively bearded John C. Reilly (looking like the caveman version of Dewey Cox), as an obsessive masturbator and constant bike rider. Again, it's another weird character, but Reilly's small role is easily the funniest part of the movie. But for whatever good he brings to the proceedings, it's negated by Katie Holmes, who once again turns in an unnatural and stilted performance as a peppy vegan activist/bitch.
With such off the wall characters the film is tonally incongruent, with bizarre drama about the main character's sexuality not balancing well with the broad comedy of Kline's character. The whole thing ends up feeling, for lack of a better word, weird—and not in an appealing way. It's reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie, but even quirkier and too slowly paced. With its love of the vintage style and literature, one could even consider it a hipster flick, which might be a bit much for some people depending on your tolerance for it. But if you're itching for some Kevin Kline, we might have to take what we can get.
Crew Commentary: This track features co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, production designer Judy Becker, and a moderator and provides a lot more movie-specific info than the other track. Every pitches in fairly evenly, with lots of stories shared.
Deleted Scene (1:51): More Katie Holmes. Do not want.
Behind the Score Footage (8:23): Composers Klaus Badelt and Christopher Carmichaeldiscuss their role and talk about their inspirations for their music.
HDNet's A Look at THE EXTRA MAN (4:18): Pretty much a preview of the movie with cast and crew interviews talking it up.
Cartoon Clip Voiceover Recording (0:40): A short look at the voice actors recording the duck sequence for the film.
Extra Tidbit: Kevin Kline is still married to Phoebe Cates. I wonder if they have a pool in their backyard.