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Extra Man, The (Blu-ray Review)

9 Nov, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 11/16/10
Box Office $0.5 million
$26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for some sexual content.
Stars Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, John C. Reilly, Katie Holmes.

There are few places young, socially awkward English literature teacher Louis Ives (versatile Paul Dano) — who occasionally fancies cross-dressing — is better suited to live (and hide) than in New York City.

And so it isn’t surprising that Ives — after being dismissed from a New Jersey prep school for trying on a woman’s bra — winds up renting a room (actually a couch) on the Upper East Side from equally eccentric Henry Harrison (well-cast Kevin Kline).

Harrison is a washed-up extroverted playwright who escorts wealthy widows (giving rise to the film’s title) for loose change, societal swag and a place to crash in Florida during the winter. His persnickety maxims of no overnight guests and no sexual deviance only appear to endear him to the confused and impressionable Ives.

Katie Holmes expertly defies her pop culture “Mrs. Tom Cruise” stereotype playing Ives’ hopelessly out-of-reach office love interest. She isn’t sure whether to run from him or hug him. The lone misfire is the casting of John C. Reilly as Harrison’s high-pitched hippie neighbor.

Extra Man is an independent film that grows on you as additional Big Apple characters are briefly introduced, including buxom Patti D’Arbanville (FX Network’s “Rescue Me”) as a motherly hooker; Alicia Goranson (“Roseanne”) as a hip make-up gal; Jason Butler Harner (Changeling) as hunchback ex-roommate Otto; and Lynn Cohen, Celia Weston (“Memphis Beat”) and 82-year-old Marian Seldes as society women.

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