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Friday, 2 December 2005

The Extra

Five years in the making - well, the writing at least - The Extra poses the cinematic question: how long do you really need to write a film this average? Sure, there's stuff to enjoy in this almost fairy-tale like story of a would-be actor (scriptwriter Jimeoin) who comes to the big city hoping to be a star but ends up as an extra / leather bar dancer who stumbles into both a (not-so-big) break and love. Jimeoin is a likeable screen presence, Bob Franklin as the shaven-headed night-club owner / movie buff villain deserved a larger role, and Shaun Micallef as a detective / host of a 'crime-stoppers'-style show is a highlight. Problem is, there's no real reason for his character to even be in this film, and he's not the only one. Worse, the story takes forever to get started, and when it does it's too bogged down in subplots and extra characters to really take off. On their own, some individual scenes work well (the romance between Jimeoin's un-named character and fellow extra Claudia seems to belong in a different, much better, movie), but they never come together as anything like a solid story. If The Extra was funnier, none of this would matter. But the laughs are few and far between, and the uneven tone suggests the film-makers weren't even sure how funny a film they wanted to make. Whatever they were aiming for, it must have been better than this.

Anthony Morris

(this review appeared in Forte#347)

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