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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Irish comedy ‘Extra Ordinary’ is a comic curiosity


"Extra Ordinary," which is scheduled to open today at the Magic Lantern, is no ordinary comedy.

For one thing, it's Irish. I mean, completely Irish, from most of its cast (excluding the American comedic actor Will Forte) to its setting and dour sense of humor.

For another, it's a blend of comedy and paranormal/satanic horror. Imagine a cross between "Ghostbusters" and — oh, I don't know — "Waking Ned Devine"?

But while that combination of plot points might seem just a tad strange, the cast that co-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman managed to snare makes it work. Especially Maeve Higgins, the stand-up comic who along with Ahern and Loughman contributed to the film's screenplay.

Higgins plays Rose Dooley, a driving instructor with a past she would just as soon forget, that of a paranormal investigator who had the ability to contact spirits. But while still a child, Rose made a mistake that proved fatal for her father.

So now she teaches driving, though not particularly well, and she ignores the various presences that she passes by every day. That is, she ignores them until she is contacted by Martin Martin (Barry Ward), a single dad who is worried about his daughter (Emma Coleman), who is the target of a one-hit-wonder singer-songwriter and satanist named Christian Winter (Forte).

What happens then involves satanic rituals, a ghostly ex-wife, demonic possession, a manic bird, a budding romance and, despite such an offbeat blend of detail, an ongoing sense of low-key comedy — much of it due to Higgins' understated comic delivery.

Oh, and Ward — who is required to impersonate several different characters, not to mention vomit on cue — is good, too. On the other hand, "Saturday Night Live" veteran Forte brings a feel to the project that seems out of sync with the Irish cast members (especially during one scene of graphic violence).

The thing is, no simple recitation of the plot of "Extra Ordinary" can fully explain its appeal. But like comedy itself, that appeal will likely prove personal.

All I can say is that it made me laugh. And more than once.

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