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Australia 2005
Directed by
Kevin Carlin
100 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Extra

After The Craic (1999). expatriate Irish comedian Jimeoin's dire debut feature as a writer/”star”, I was not expecting much from this film. His winning Harold Lloyd-ish screen/stage persona was there but there was a significant absence of wit and a reliance on the well-worn “dumb and dumber” style of broad comedy. That film was, however, commercially quite successful and has given Jimeoin the opportunity to return to the big screen.

The result this time is much better: the script, once again by Jimeoin, is often funny, and inventively so, but it also has depth and texture, with an engaging array of characters and situations. I suspect that a bigger budget (albeit still a relatively modest one) has given him access to a larger and more talented creative team in front of and behind the camera than was possible with the earlier film.

Following the adventures of a likeable but chronically diffident would-be actor (Jimeoin) who after 4 years of trying can still only get the occasional role as an extra, the storyline is quite conventional, giving us the familiar behind-the-scenes world of movie-making, and contrasting the heady illusions of screen glamour with the less lofty realities of the everyday and bringing it home with The Extra’s attraction to, on the one hand, a sexy starlet (Kristy Hinze), and on the other, a girl-next-door fellow extra (Katherine Slattery), someone more like himself.

No need to guess the outcome but the whole thing is done with winning geniality and solid film-making skills. Performances are strong from all concerned (even Rhys Muldoon’s standard mugging to the camera seems acceptable) and with the help of a bit of CGI, Melbourne has rarely looked so good...




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