The Extra Man: Kevin Kline, Too Twee for Us

Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, and John C. Reilly star in this twee comedy of lonely New York oddballs. All three are funny in their various maladjusted ways: Kline as an asexual prig who precariously survives as a walker of blue-haired Upper East Side widows; Dano as the sexually confused college grad who fancies himself a Fitzgerald hero; and Reilly as the silent, Sasquatch-haired troll who lives beneath their stairs. But the original 1998 Jonathan Ames novel was pretty slight; and the best directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini can do with the material is leap from one shaggy episode to the next. They don't look for depth in these Odd Couple antics, because, unlike their American Splendor, there isn't any. (Ames, obviously, is no Pekar.) Dano must grow up; Kline does aerobics to classical music; and Reilly eventually speaks (sings, even). The whimsy is so lacquered with retro-'70s nostalgia that it's a shock when Dano actually pulls out a cell phone and goes to work in an office equipped with computers and Katie Holmes. (The latter is quite amusing as a selfish hippie chick eventually bitten in the ass by her Dave Matthews Band philosophy.) Without much of a story, you're left with three eccentrics who could be sidekicks in three separate movies. In this one, the trio are badly in need of leadership that never comes. 

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