Thursday, September 12, 2019

Extra Ordinary – an escapist supernatural Irish comedy that is well named (cinemas from Friday 13 September)

Rose Dooley turned her back on the family ‘talent’. But the driving instructor is being drawn by the chance of romance into her old world of witchcraft and supernatural abilities as she races around rural Ireland to cast out demons and rescue a teenager from the clutches of a failed and deranged pop artist, not to mention the controlling ghost of her deceased mother.

Extra Ordinary is a blast. And well-named.

The characters are well-drawn, the plot is madcap and escapist, the humour is surreal, visual, and very quirky. Directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman manage to neatly combine a strong sense of urgency with a slow pace of action, with gross visual props and unfussy special effects.

Maeve Higgins plays Rose, a somewhat bumbling woman whose accidental patricide knocked her enchanted confidence. The characterisation is warm and well-meaning, with great timing and deadpan delivery. Her potential beau is played by Barry Ward, a convincing widower and a desperate father who would do anything – even something very gross seven times in a row – to protect his daughter.

But we aren’t ask to feel sorry for these characters. Instead, the crazy nature of the plot means that the audience are allowed to simply enjoy the creative team’s imagination running wild as glammed-up evil pop star Christian Winter (played by Will Forte as if Meat Loat had swallowed a bat out of hell) wields his vulgar virgin divining rod and his Aussie partner (Claudia O'Doherty) figures out where her next meal is coming from.

With an ending that takes this potential cult classic into a whole other realm of wonder, it’s hard to fault this stream of imagination that’s been structured into a coherent and comedic film.

Extra Ordinary is being screened in the Queen’s Film Theatre, Movie House and Omniplex cinemas amongst other NI venues from Friday 13 September.

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