Thursday 19 September 2019

Extra Ordinary review: Maeve Higgins is the beating heart of this quirky and amiable caper

3 stars

Extra Ordinary
Extra Ordinary

Chris Wasser

The extraordinary thing about Extra Ordinary — and believe me, there are a lot of extraordinary things about this homegrown, supernatural comedy — is that it is just as bonkers on screen as it is on paper.

That the lads behind it — first-time filmmakers, Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman — somehow managed to make it work, is nothing short of a miracle.

Maeve Higgins is Rose Dooley, a small-town driving instructor with a spooky past. Rose’s dad was a paranormal investigator, with a psychic connection to the other side, and though she may have inherited her father’s ‘gifts’, she’s reluctant to use them. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of a crazy, washed-up rock star, and a troubled widower.

Will Forte is Christian Winter, a local, one-hit wonder, who believes that the only way to revive his music career is to participate in a satanic ritual that involves a human sacrifice. Enter Martin Martin (Barry Ward), the aforementioned widower, whose wife is now a ghost that refuses to let him get on with his life.

Martin believes that Rose may be the answer to his haunted predicament. The only problem is, Christian has his eye on Martin’s daughter. You know, for his demonic pact.

Indeed, Extra Ordinary eventually stretches itself beyond breaking point, bearing all the hallmarks of a surreal comedy sketch that got out of hand. But it is, for the most part, extremely well made, and very funny. Ahern and Loughman handle their ambitious ghost story with impressive ease and skill. George Brennan’s dazzling score sets the mood, and the folks in the effects department earn their keep.

The unique selling point is Higgins, whose witty and, at times, moving turn, is the beating heart of this quirky and amiable caper. See if you can guess which real-life crooner provided inspiration for Christian Winter…

(15A, 94mins)

Read more: Downton Abbey movie review: 'Sparkling, silly and beautifully coordinated'

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