Combustible Celluloid
 
With: Maeve Higgins, Barry Ward, Will Forte, Claudia O'Doherty, Jamie Beamish, Terri Chandler, Risteard Cooper, Emma Coleman, Carrie Crowley
Written by: Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman
Directed by: Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content and some horror violence
Running Time: 94
Date: 03/06/2020
IMDB

Extra Ordinary (2020)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Ghost-Modern

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This broad, silly Irish movie — with a cast of largely unfamiliar faces — doesn't break any new ground, but the characters are nonetheless lovable and hilarious, and it's a delightful distraction.

In Extra Ordinary, one-hit wonder pop star Christian Winter (Will Forte) attempts to perform a satanic ritual, involving the sacrifice of a virgin, to get his career back on track. Meanwhile, Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins) is a driving instructor who possesses certain paranormal talents, but refuses to use them, convinced that they caused the death of her father.

Then, Martin Martin (Barry Ward, Jimmy's Hall) is being haunted by the pushy, pesky ghost of his ex-wife, and his teen daughter Sarah (Emma Coleman), gives him an ultimatum; either get rid of the ghost, or she's leaving. Martin goes to Rose, pretending to need driving lessons, which fails. But when Sarah falls under some evil spell and begins floating, Rose agrees to take the case. But before Rose and Martin can rescue Sarah and stop Christian, they must collect the ectoplasm of seven ghosts...

Written and directed by Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, Extra Ordinary at least manages to combine horror and comedy without being about zombies, and its take on the supernatural is hilariously deadpan and matter-of-fact. (The opening credits comically claim that it was "based on a true story.") Most hauntings, a supernatural expert tells us, are so small that no one even notices, and we see a toaster waving its cord as Rose passes by, or a dead wife reminding her surviving husband to pay the car tax.

While Extra Ordinary does turn on some large-scale visual effects, and some gore, the focus is on the fun characters, using them to find a humorous balance between over-the-top and subtle. Saturday Night Live veteran Will Forte (Nebraska, Keanu) steals his scenes as the villain, who is totally, coolly resigned to using satanic means to restore his career; only his wife (the very funny Claudia O'Doherty) manages to get in the way merely through carelessness.

But Higgins is the real find here. Her appearance and her confident demeanor are a winning juxtaposition, and she quickly wins us over, just as easily as she wins over Martin Martin. It may feel a little familiar, but it's also skillfully made, and it's a riot.

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