Monday, January 23, 2012

'The Extra Man' is an Instant Favourite

Bedeviled by a terrible toothache few nights ago, I sought some distraction in film with little expectation. Much to my surprise, I discovered a true gem AND was able to see it from the beginning. It is a fairly new film entitled 'The Extra Man' and is absolutely brilliant. My only caveat is that the first five minutes are rather dull and off-putting in a way. One could believe 'The Extra Man' to be a rather stilted period film until one discovers that the start of the film is nothing more than an interior fantasy on the part of the protagonist.

Too many comedies nowadays are broad and vulgar, appealing to the lowest common denominator. While 'The Extra Man' has some hilarious physical comedy and truly bizarre situations, it nonetheless is erudite and works on more than one level of perception. In many ways, it is possible that it was intended to be a 21st century version of a short story by a contemporary F. Scott Fitzgerald. The protagonist certainly hints of this more than once. It is social satire at its best but even those who are unfamiliar with the corridors of social power in New York and who would not recognise the sly rendition of Mrs. Brooke Astor with her tiny dog can be entertained by this film.

For those like myself who love the works of Fitzgerald, Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh, 'The Extra Man' is a 'comedy of manners' in the best tradition that should prove an absolute delight.

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