Monday, July 26, 2010

The Extra Man

It's hard to see what Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, co-directors of “American Splendor” and “The Nanny Diaries,” saw in taking on “The Extra Man,” the story of a socially awkward teacher named Louis Ives (played by the always understated Paul Dano) who leaves behind his sheltered prep-school gig for the wilds of Manhattan. Once there he lands a phone sales job at an environmental magazine and moves into the Upper East Side apartment of an eccentric dandy (played by the predictably cast Kevin Kline). Based on a novel by the script's co-writer Jonathan Ames, the movie revolves around the conceit that Kline's failed playwright/budding-mentor Henry Harrison is an "extra man," a chaste male escort to high-society dames. Unfortunately, like the ridiculously pretentious Harrison, the film fancies itself much more interesting than it is. And screenwriter Ames seems to aspire to be that successful oddball he is most decidedly not: Charlie Kaufman.

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.

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