Extra Ordinary was everything I’d wanted...and more! Deft comedic writing from Ahern, Fox, Higgins, and Loughman means the movie can poke fun at pretty much anything it wants without causing offence. The film always felt amiable, never distasteful or unpleasant. Even the rare moments of gore and violence are offset by some brilliantly delivered lines of deadpan humour and extraordinary (hehe) comedic timing by the film’s pitch-perfect cast. Indeed, Extra Ordinary may not be the most daring of movies, and may even be considered ‘too safe’ by some. But honestly, I didn’t care, and neither should you.
Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins) is a kind but lonely driving instructor with a hidden ‘talent’: she can speak to ghosts. Bored of her mundane existence, but scared of her supernatural abilities, Rose floats aimlessly through life. That is until she meets Martin Martin (Barry Ward). Martin has a problem: his overbearing dead wife is causing issues at home between him and his daughter. But while Rose is initially reluctant to help, the evil machinations of the washed-up, one-hit-wonder rock star, Christian Winter (Will Forte) force her hand.
If I had to make one complaint, it would be that on occasion, the jokes don’t work quite as well as they should. Either through awkward delivery or the odd slip in quality of the writing. But this is the smallest of niggles and happens maybe two or three times throughout the entire film. Thanks to the excellent standard of writing and superb comedic performances by the cast, the humour here are laugh-out-loud funny, but without being too in its audience’s face.
Higgins is instantly likeable as the good-hearted and culturally oblivious leading lady, Rose; who has the perfect screen partner in Ward’s more down-to-earth Martin. And while the whole film airs on the side of the bizarre, the more outlandish roles belong firmly to the villains of the movie. Will Forte’s outstandingly off-beat, almost whimsical satanist, Christian Winter is continually facing off against his on-screen wife, Claudia (Claudia O’Doherty). Who never fails to bring her husband crashing back down to earth with razor-sharp put-downs—”It’s just a driving lesson dickhead, get on with it.”
#GeorgeBrennan does an admirable job of scoring the movie, and his music drifts lyrically through the film; as if it, itself is in spiritual peace and harmony. There’s also some surprisingly accomplished cinematography here too. I say ‘surprisingly’ because films like this generally don’t require anything spectacular in that department. But #JamesMather gives it to us anyway. Particularly towards the third act of the movie when the blood moon has risen. The gorgeous blood red-bathed visuals and perfect framing of those graveyard scenes sent a chill down my spine, a chill I hadn’t expected from this film.
Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s brilliantly directed and well-judged satanic comedy may be a safe choice. There’s nothing overly nasty or distasteful here like I’ve already said. But what is here is a beautifully put-together movie that is still able to surprise the viewer. It surprises you with its warmth and depth, and it surprises you with a technical proficiency you’d be forgiven for thinking it couldn’t possess. For me, Extra Ordinary was an absolute joy from beginning to end. Please be sure to support this film if you have the chance.