A sophisticated and moving comedy from Bob Pulchini and Shari Springer–Berman, the Academy Award nominated writer/directors of American Splendor, THE EXTRA MAN follows Louis Ives (Paul Dano), 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 an entrancing, green–obsessed co–worker Mary (Katie Holmes). But it's Louis' new home life that really sparks his imagination. 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 a leaping lion to a wildly jealous hirsute neighbor, from drunken nonagenarians to a shady Swiss hunchback, Louis and Henry form a memorable bond that bridges their differences.
Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
Kline's performance as Henry -- regal in its classical stage pronunciations -- is clearly the best thing in the film. But the character still fails to resonate; Henry isn't much more than a bag of peculiarities.Jake Coyle, Associated Press, 07.29.2010
For all its flighty charms, The Extra Man never really lands.Stephen Holden, New York Times, 07.30.2010
Adapted from the Jonathan Ames novel, the film is too precious around the edges, but it gets somewhere.Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times, 08.06.2010
It's relentlessly unwacky and even quietly subversive.Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, 07.30.2010