.

The Extra Man

Kevin Kline, Paul Dano

Directed by Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2
Community: star rating
5 2 0
July 28, 2010

In this maddeningly uneven film version of Jonathan Ames' acclaimed 1998 novel, Kevin Kline gives a master class in acting. Kline plays Henry Harrison, a hard-pressed Manhattan aristocrat (his income can't finance his tastes) who gets by being an extra man, a walker who escorts rich elderly ladies on the town.

Henry also rents a room in his shabby apartment to Louis Ives (Paul Dano), a young teacher who lost his job after being caught trying on a brassiere. So Louis moves in with Henry and begins his unsentimental education under the tutelage of a man whose views on sex are "to the right of the Pope." This doesn't quite jibe with Louis' attraction to Mary (Katie Holmes), his co-worker at an environmental magazine, or his fascination with tranny bars and cross-dressing.

Peter Travers picks the season's can't-miss films and the ones with a bad vibe in his summer movie preview.

That's the setup for the script Ames co-wrote with directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, the husband-and-wife team who scored big with American Splendor and fell ignominiously with The Nanny Diaries. But whenever The Extra Man falters in pace and focus, Kline comes to the rescue. Whether Henry is teaching Louis about the perils of educating women or how to pee with style in the street, Kline finds every nuance of mirth and melancholy in this wonder of a role and rides it to glory. You can't take your eyes off him.

Get more news, reviews and interviews from Peter Travers on The Travers Take.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Promiscuous”

    Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

    This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com