Kevin Kline is one of those actors that is magnificent in every role he undertakes with The Extra Man acting as no exception to this rule. Directed by Robert Pulcini and Shari Berman, who are husband and wife by the way, the story, based off the book, tells the tale of a young man, played by Paul Dano who has Kline take him under his wing. The two of them then set out on the ludicrous journey in training Dano to be a male escort for older women, much older women.
The story is a wonderful one and the comedy was fabulous. Tied together with laugh-out-loud moments, along with more sophisticated humor, The Extra Man is quite possibly a movie for just about anyone. What I found to be especially amusing, besides Kline behaving like an eccentric sophisticate, was Paul Dano himself. The young man has made a name for himself over the last few years, starring in films such as Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood. Each part he plays is always different from the one before and here we are presented with another peak into Dano’s talent. Portraying a wannabe playwright, he finds himself strangely attracted to women’s clothing. While by no means gay, Dano’s character gets something of a thrill by trying on bras. In truth, the young man is trying to find a way to fill the void that has become such a part of his life and dressing in women’s clothing is, in his mind, the cure.
I feel I should mention that John C. Reilly also appears in the movie, albeit infrequently, but every time he shows his bearded face, there is joy to be had. Speaking in a ridiculous high pitched voice, going on bicycle rides, and memorizing the dictionary to keep himself out of sexual trouble, Reilly manages to emanate a glorious presence. Kline for his part, is wonderful as always. While over-the-top, there is not the feeling that Kline overplayed his hand. In fact, every bizarre witticism or piece of advice, such as teaching Dano how to urinate in the street without getting caught or drawing attention to oneself, is welcomed with open arms.
The dynamic between all the characters is excellent and I’m sure that the screenwriting has something to do with it. The movie’s dialogue is not only fresh but exceedingly clever. It gets to the point where you can truly see these characters saying such things and truly believing in whatever it is they’re saying. Unlike some film characters, these individuals are people, people that you can connect with and on a fairly emotional level, feeling their pain and anguish. You are able to sympathize with their plights, either having seen something like it in real life or experienced moments similar. All in all, not only was I greatly entertained, but I got to watch a movie that was worth seeing, something that is becoming increasingly rare to come by nowadays.