Extra Ordinary (2020)

Will Forte and Maeve Higgins star in 'Extra Ordinary' 

It’s been 10 years since Will Forte left Saturday Night Live after creating such memorable characters as MacGruber, Andy the "Oh no!" Guy, and the creepy voiced Tim Calhoun.

In “Extra Ordinary” the former Not Ready for Prime-Time Player unleashes another unforgettable character, aging rock star/Satanist Christian Winter who meets his match with Irish driving instructor and former paranormal investigator Rose played by delightful comedian Maeve Higgins in her feature debut. “The Exorcist” meets “Spinal Tap” in this zany horror comedy that delivers plenty of laughs by this first-rate cast.

“Do you ever have nightmares after eating cheese?” asks Vincent Dooley on his supernatural television show “Investigating The Extraordinary” followed by the explanation “You might have eaten a ghost” because “Even the weakest ghost can possess cheese quite easily.”

Vincent is played by actor/comedian Risteard Cooper whose deadpan delivery equals Rod Serling-lite. He appears in archived VHS footage after passing away decades earlier while investigating a haunted pothole with his young daughter Rose, who now in her thirties still blames herself for Vincent’s death.

Rose locked away her supernatural abilities or “Talents” after her father’s “slaughter” and now the sweet and lonely tricenarian spends her days as a driving instructor in rural Ireland where people still reach out to her for help dealing with ghouls in cupboards and headless horsemen scaring cows.

Enter Martin Martin (Barry Ward) a widower whose deceased wife Bonnie is still hanging around to nag him from beyond the grave. His teenage daughter Sarah (Emma Coleman) believes it’s time for mom to crossover especially since bruises keep popping up on dad when Bonnie thinks he’s out of line. So, Martin calls Rose under the guise of taking driving lessons. When he admits that he really needs her help with his wife’s ghost she declines even though there seems to be a spark developing between the two.

The performances by the cast take this horror rom-com to the next level. It’s easy to fall in love with happy-go-lucky Higgins and it’s great to see Ward in a comic role after solid performances in dramas “Jimmy’s Hall” and last year’s prison break film “Maze.” The two actors make a good team when the eventually team up as a ghostbusting duo.

Will Forte is hilarious as a washed-up singer looking to make a comeback with the help of Satan. He just needs a virgin to sacrifice and that’s where Martin’s daughter comes in. The zany film features plenty of throwbacks to “The Exorcist” and “Ghostbusters” and while it’s over-the-top silly it never crosses the mark into cheesiness.

Written and directed by Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, “Extra Ordinary” blends the right amount of horror and comedy in the vein of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s “What We Do in the Shadows.” It’s a riot!

(3 ½ stars)

Now showing at Alamo Drafthouse LaCenterra (Houston) and Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Austin)

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Joe Friar is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society.  He co-founded the Victoria Film Society and reviews films for Hit Radio 104.7 and the Victoria Advocate.

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Joe Friar is a member of the Critics Choice Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society. A lifelong fan of cinema, he co-founded the Victoria Film Society, Frels Fright Fest, and is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic.

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