Louis Ives fancies himself a young gentleman fashioned after his heroes in the books of F. Scott Fitzgerald. He dresses the part - favouring neckties, blue blazers and sport coats. But he also has a penchant for women's clothing, a weakness that leads to him losing his job as a teacher and a Princeton day school. He heads for New York City, where he rents a room in the madly discombobulated apartment of Henry Harrison, a failed but brilliant playwright, who performs great style the duties of a 'walker' - an escort for the rich widows of the Upper East Side.
The two men, separated in age by more than 40 years, develop a relationship as irascible mentor and eager apprentice, which leads to a series of urban adventures - encouraging everything from a leaping lion to a wildly jealous hirsuite neighbour to drunken nonagenarians and an entrancing green-obsessed young journalist.
I'm never the biggest fan of Kevin Kline but I did enjoy his performance in The Extra Man. He presents a powerful performance of an eccentric character - that of an asexual man who also acts as an escort for older women: A hilarious concept in itself, but for me, it just doesn't really work.
Kline's dominant presence on-screen tends to overshadow the other actors to the point the film slows somewhat whenever Kline is off-screen. The other characters are somewhat lack-lustre and detract from the film. I can't really work out whether the script is lacking, the actors or the direction of the film. But either way, it lack a little cohesion for me.
What sounds like it could be a fantastic film, and probably could be in British hands (Yes, I am biased) if they tightened the script and removed the slap-stick element, but overall the film comes to be a little Americanised in it's humour. Since this is generally the intended market it may work very well in the American market - but not for me.
Kline makes the film, but it is a shame he seems to be the driving element for the film with little support from his co-stars.
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