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The Extra Man
dir. Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini / USA, France 2010 / 105’
subtitles: Polish


Paul Dano, Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly, Katie Holmes, Jason Butler Harner, Marian Seldes, Patti D'Arbanville, Dan Hedaya

Film description

Louis Ives, a young dreamer with perfect manners and anemic complexion, avid reader of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is closer to the era of jazz than the Internet, comes to New York to find himself. He begins his search in Manhattan because, in addition to reading The Great Gatsby, Lewis enjoys cross-dressing. He rents a room from Henry Harrison (a bold role by Kevin Kline), an aging dandy with a Christmas ornament fetish, who takes him under his wing and teaches him the secrets of an exceptional profession, the gigolo.

In their latest film, Berman and Puccini revisit places familiar from their Sundance award-winning film, American Splendor (2003). They show a world of urban freaks and eccentrics to create a fascinating galleria of juicy characters headed by Henry. The Extra Man takes a classic student and master formula and imbues it with new life, mainly due to the great acting of both leading roles. Each role builds on lightness, humor and is convincing - even when required to pontificate (with all seriousness) that the fundamental source of misfortune in modern society is introduction of the coeducational system in schools. The film offers many other lines like it, in this story of delightful misogynists and novice fetishists in a gallery of colorful New York personalities.

Grzegorz Kurek

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