The Extra Man: movie review

In 'The Extra Man,' Kevin Kline is terrifically entertaining without being altogether believable.

Magnolia Pictures/AP
Kevin Kline is shown in a scene from, 'The Extra Man.'

Kevin Kline tends to give bravura performances even when he’s not playing bravura characters. In “The Extra Man,” he might as well be playing a variation on Jon Lovitz’s Master Thespian from “Saturday Night Live.” He’s terrifically entertaining without being altogether believable.

He plays Henry Harrison, a college literature professor who lives in a crummy New York apartment and whose views on sex and women “are to the right of the pope.” Dressed like a dandy from the 1920s, he takes in a boarder, Paul Dano’s Louis Ives, who was recently let go as an instructor at an English prep school because of his predilection for cross-dressing.

Louis is not, to put it mildy, Henry’s ideal pick for a roommate, but, inevitably, they become friends – perhaps because Henry is more interested in becoming his mentor than his scold. The directing team of Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman (“American Splendor”), collaborating with Jonathan Ames on the adapation of his novel, overplay a rather weak hand, but there are fine, wry moments tucked inside the curdled whimsy. Grade: B (Rated R for some sexual content.)

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