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Review: Spirited ‘Extra Ordinary’ is not your basic paranormal rom-com

UPDATED: Wed., March 11, 2020

Barry Ward and Maeve Higgins star in “Extra Ordinary.” (Handout / Cranked Up Films)
Barry Ward and Maeve Higgins star in “Extra Ordinary.” (Handout / Cranked Up Films)
By Michael Rechtshaffen Los Angeles Times

There’s absolutely nothing banal about “Extra Ordinary,” a deviously amusing paranormal rom-com(!) that convincingly summons the playful spirit of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (“What We Do in the Shadows”) and Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) while tossing in a few of its own inspired touches.

Meet sweet Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins, who’s an absolute hoot), a driving instructor who lives alone in a little rural house in Ireland with a padlocked door leading to a room belonging to her late father, Vincent, who made a living shilling videos dealing with the supernatural.

Despite her own genuine gift for communicating with the dead, Rose, believing she was responsible for inadvertently “slaughtering” her dad, had sworn off her talents – until she’s contacted by a haunted widower named Martin Martin (Barry Ward), whose late nagging wife has been taking her sweet time shuffling off this mortal coil.

Armed with an exuberant cast (also including an agreeably over-the-top Will Forte as a washed-up singer who has made a pact with Satan that will return him to the pop charts), director-writers Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman deliver a feature-film debut that yields laugh-out-loud returns without sacrificing the main characters’ core likability.

Like those cheeky genre-splicing comedies that came before it, the Ahern-Loughman collaboration doesn’t merely goose the boundary between charming and outrageous, it gleefully tramples it into oblivion.

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