A nonentity (Jimeoin) imagines that he can be noticed and go to parties, get girls, etc, if he became a movie star. He manages eventually and with some difficulty to get a job as an extra on a big budget sequel, but his path to fame is blocked by fate.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Jimeoin's second feature film screenplay (after The Craic) subverts and upends the cinematically familiar imagery of the man with no name, the loner and outsider and casts him as the invisible nobody in a world where fame and celebrity are the coin of achievement. It's a suitably downbeat and complex notion to begin with for a comedy, and the screenplay juggles with the possibilities of satire - while the film is buried up to its Luna Park mouth in topsoil humour. But that's not so much Jimeoin's fault as the fault of director Kevin Carlin, whose feature debut still wears the clothes of his television persona.
There is so much mugging going on it's impossible to take any of it seriously - which is a disaster for any film. We don't believe in the set up, the characters hardly exist beyond fake fronts (like boffooning wanna be film director, or pansy talent agent) and the narrative is whisked into a froth.
The cast, too, are largely performing big for the small screen, instead of small for the big screen, with three exceptions: Jimeoin, whose melancholy persona retains a welcome stillness, Katherine Slattery as Claudia, a fellow aspiring thespian and the girl who comes to mean something to him; and Bob Franklin as Marko, an English crim who knows more about cinema and its artistic by-laws than the rest of the wannabe filmmakers combined. (A touch of the Tarantinos here, I think.)
In the film within the film, where The Extra (Jimeoin) is cut out of his one crowd scene, the filmmakers have opted for the cheapest shot; it's a cheesy big budget sequel (The Eternal Flame) with cliché stars made of acting wood, who make a clichéed appearance at a cliché red carpet event. If this is supposed to be taking a shot at Hollywood-ism, Australian filmmakers need more target practice.
Many of the weaknesses on display in The Extra are repetitions of the misjudged and misguided choices that marred recent Australian comedies like Take Away, Horseplay and The Honourable Wally Norman.
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EXTRA, THE (M)
CAST: Jimeoin, Katherine Slattery, Rhys Muldoon, Bob Franklin, Shaun Micaleff, Kristy Hinze, Tayle Kane, Colin lane, Raj Ryan
PRODUCER: Bruno Charlsworth, Stephen Luby, Mark Ruse
DIRECTOR: Kevin Carlin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mark Wareham
EDITOR: Angie Higgins
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carrie Kennedy, Ben Morieson
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 21, 2005
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: August 24, 2005