Movie review: Ghostly goings-on will exorcise a laugh in Extra Ordinary

by Shane Dillon
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It’s rare that I give in to a flood of YouTube ads all but begging me to go and see a film but my interests were piqued in the distinctly Irish new film, Extra Ordinary (Cert 15A, 94 mins) over the past week or so, just ahead of its opening.

It’s not often that we get a new Irish comedy, but adverts for a sort-of cross between The Exorcist and sort-of Father Ted? Sold!

The film’s driving talents mightn’t be impressed by that clumsy comparison, but it’s hard not to think of such classic Irish wit and humour behind all of the ghostly, ghastly shenanigans in the film.

Bored and lonely Rose (a charming Maeve Higgins) is a driving instructor pottering about in the kind of small Irish town you only briefly notice as you whip through to somewhere jazzier like Cavan or Athlone.

She doesn’t seem to have much of a ghost of a chance of meeting someone – someone alive, that is, for Rose sees the dead and ghostly activity all around her, acting up in many mediocre little ways.

There’s a surprising amount of paranormal activity all around us, it seems, but Rose – who’s traumatised by her childhood as a sidekick to her late dad’s hammy psychic shenanigans – just wants to ignore any ghosts mucking about and glumly have her microwave-for-one meals.

With Rose as a sad force for good, across town there’s an inept force for evil, courtesy of Christian Winter (an often hilariously hammy Will Forte).

As a faded one-hit wonder, the former star is desperate for another hit to put him back on top of the charts again, and decides that a satanic deal with the devil is the answer.

What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty, of course, with Rose soon dragged into things by widower Martin Martin (Barry Ward), who’s having a spot of bother with his teenage daughter, while his late wife is casting more than a shadow across their lives.

Perhaps a driving instructor-slash-reluctant exorcist could be just the thing to help them move on with their lives?

With Winter needing a virgin sacrifice, Martin Martin needing to protect his daughter, and Rose maybe in with a chance of exercising some romantic interests alongside exorcising some ghosts, there’s a lot at stake.

But if our kind heroine, and kind-of Ghostbuster with L-plates, plays this right, it could also mean the end of her meals-for-one…

There’s a lot to like about Extra Ordinary, with much of what works about the film squarely down to Higgins.

As sadly, kind Rose, she’s an everywoman lead who anyone would root for, while Forte is clearly having a blast as her pitiful nemesis of sorts.

With the likes of Mary McEvoy popping up in supporting roles, there are a few familiar faces fleshing out this distinctly lo-fi, very-Irish film.

I can see how a lot of humour might leave foreign audiences cold, but here at home, it should raise much more than a ghost of a smile.

  • Verdict: 8/10

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