Extra Ordinary tries to be extraordinary and fun, but never takes the story, or characters for that matter, serious enough to give the movie a chance to explore its ideas and in the end hinders it from a world of extraordinary laughs.
In this flick, talking to ghosts has become the norm and experiencing anything paranormal is far from being unusual, we are introduced to Rose (Maeve Higgins), a driving instructor who just so happens to carry a gift of communicating with the spirits of those who refuse to move on. When Sarah (Emma Coleman), the daughter of a recent widow named Martin (Barry Ward), reaches out to Rose for help with her Dad being haunted by the spirit of her Mom, Rose reluctantly accepts only to find herself and Martin trying to save Sarah from the sinister forces of Christian (Will Forte), a man willing to work with the dark forces to rebuild his has-been-career of a rockstar. On paper, the premise seems quite enjoyable and straightforward. However, once the movie kicks itself into gear, the tone feels all over the place and the forced humor only drowns the plot as it holds it under the surface, allowing it to come up for air to take in a few gulps of fresh air for brief moments.
That’s not to say there aren’t some humorous parts in this film. Directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman have talent for directing and writing extreme scenarios in which they allow the reactions of the characters to speak for themselves in the situations presented in the film. There are definite moments where I chuckled at the absurdity of the plot, however, those definite moments are often times beat over the head too much and comes across as either crass for the sake of being crass or a reminder that a scene is supposed to be funny while winking right in front of you. It’s those moments where I scratched my head at the bewildering humor because one moment it was working and then a couple of seconds later I couldn’t help but question what the point was. These forced moments of comedy really hinder the performances of the talent. None of it feels natural, whether they are being kinetically slapstick, or whether their tangents and expositional monologues reveal just how thinly and surface-leveled the writing really is. In the end, one thing is for certain: every single character is annoyingly dry and has no depth. I feel like Ahern and Loughman could easily put their feet on the brakes of this project just a tad bit to bring the film back to its roots of what makes it work.
Aside from all of the criticism, it wouldn’t be fair to not say this film has heart, because it certainly does. Despite some jokes that didn’t land as they should have or the moments of frayed writing, the talent has on screen chemistry that was quite enjoyable and perhaps this is what the filmmaker duo had intended all along is for the cast to have fun with it and not take itself seriously, however, there is only one problem with doing that… the film often times feels like it wants to be something else than what the final product showcases.
The film feels very much convoluted and stuffed. Perhaps that’s due to the genre-blending of being a romantic comedy wearing the face of a horror film. It doesn’t mix well as the tonal shifts aren’t gradual. It’s like you’re walking toward the top of a hill and think it’s going to be an easy walk down to different scenery, but once you reach the precipice, it’s a drop off to what-the-fuckery. At points it gets so tonally inverted the main plot becomes background noise and when the movie finally decides to get back on track from its forced humor and meandering, it’s easy to forget where the film left off when it was actually being fun at the very least. Due to the constant tonal shifts, the movie never really explores the world which it has built and I consider that element a huge missed opportunity.
Extra Ordinary offers no balance to keep the audience afloat of its own shipwreck. Perhaps this film will be enjoyable to those who are looking for a late night comedy to pass time on a date, but as a forewarning, don’t bother using this film as an example to impress your date unless you are expecting their reaction to be funnier and more interesting than anything this has to offer on the table. I’m sure there are others who will like this for its humor (it is unique, I will give it that) and for its nonsensical take on a world where ghosts can exist. For me, it didn’t quite land.
Overall Extra Ordinary falls short of being anything extraordinary.