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Review: Horror comedy 'Extra Ordinary' is just ordinary


Like a cross between “Monty Python” and “Ghostbusters” - the Irish import “Extra Ordinary” attempts to tow the line between farce and slapstick comedy. It features Will Forte as a one-hit wonder singer (the song, “Cosmic Woman,” is a hoot) who made a deal with the devil to mount a “comeback,” Maeve Higgens as a driving instructor/ghost whisperer and Barry Ward as a widower struggling with the daily haunting of his nagging wife, and whose daughter was kidnapped for a “virgin sacrifice” during the all-important blood moon.

The script throws a smorgasbord of ghost comedy cliches at the window and only a tiny handful of them stick. But the few that to manage to squeak through are usually hilarious one-liners and zips that provide enough fuel to push “Extra Ordinary” over the finish line. Plus the inclusion of Will Forte should help persuade American audiences to give this off-kilter comedy a go.

Higgens, though, is the standout among the rest who brings a distinctive flare of energy to the proceedings. She plays Rose Dooley, a 30-something who makes ends meet as a driving instructor. At one point, she was destined for great things, until her famous television personality of a father (Risteard Cooper) exploited her psychic talents when she was a child, and accidentally got him killed via a “haunted pothole.” She still gets overloaded with voicemails from her neighbors asking for her psychic help, though, she never fulfills their requests.

Her life is given a splash of meaning when she meets new driving student Martin Martin (Ward) who turns out to be the bachelor she’s been yearning for. But he’s really after her own supernatural abilities as he and his teenage daughter (Emma Coleman) are tired with the ghostly meddling of his late wife and mother Bonnie.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Christian Winter (Forte) is scheming a plan of his own who is aiming to relaunch his music career, but to do that he must offer a virgin to the underworld. That is if he doesn’t kill his equally nagging and annoying wife Claudia (Claudia O’Doherty) first.

Thanks to the strengths of its cast, “Extra Ordinary” has a few mild sight gags that get the job done, but the film mostly relies on the sturdiness of these characters and how they’re portrayed. This all leads to an effects driven finale that exposes just how minimalist the budget is, though, the silliness of it all, allows for some quick banter and improvisational bits that were probably not in the script.

Though for a film that calls itself “Extra Ordinary” it’s a fairly standard and ordinary practice of comedy that borrows many of its key elements from successful genre pictures. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and thankfully, the directing duo of Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman keep things loose with a gleeful and wonderfully abstract presentation. Together, with this exceptional and talented trio, they allow this rather average picture to charm you anyway.

Grade: B-

Extra Ordinary was set to be playing in select Michigan markets prior to the government mandated shut-down. As of now, there’s no plans to release the film early on streaming services in the United States.

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