There’s one particular line from “Extra Ordinary” that made me laugh out loud, even scream. When Martin Martin (Barry Ward) mentions “Ghostbusters”, Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins) says, “Oh, I haven’t read that.” The film is definitely influenced by several pop culture films – from “The Exorcist” to “Ghostbusters” – surreally.
This might also ring a bell to some people. In 2016, director Paul Feig brought an all-female team into the Ghostbusters universe, which resulted in a box office failure despite receiving positive reviews. It seems that mainstream fanboys cannot stand for women leading in this type of film. Nonetheless, across the Atlantic Ocean, Irish filmmakers Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern teamed up with Irish comedian Higgins (her first starring role), bringing breezy, charm, and warmth into this goofy horror-comedy.
Rose, sweet and deadpan, is a driving instructor living in a small town in Ireland and is paranormally gifted. Yet, she tries to suppress her talent ever since she blamed herself for accidentally killed her father (Risteard Cooper) during a paranormal investigation as a child.
Across the town lives an American singer Christian Winter (the magical Will Forte), who is a one-hit-wonder star for his single “Cosmic Woman.” Looking for his next big hit, he makes a deal with the devil by practicing a blood moon virgin sacrifice in exchange for fame and wealth. And did I mention Christian lives with his impatient wife Claudia (played by Claudia O’Doherty from Netflix’s beloved series “LOVE”) in a spooky castle?
Enter Martin (his first and last name are literally the same, funny), a widower who hires Rose for a driving lesson, but actually, he wants her to communicate with his bossy dead wife, who passed away years ago but her ghost still in charge of the households such as clothing choice, toaster setting, diet, and decoration. Martin lives with his 16-year-old daughter Sarah (Emma Coleman), who Christian is convinced a virgin (oh-no!) Rose and Martin are now running around the town to find a way to fight Christian’s spell and save Sarah.
As their feature debut, Loughman and Ahern mix familiar genre elements in their story. There’s a heartwarming narrative here: it’s about a shy and socially awkward woman who hides her gift and nature, wishing to find the right partner. “Extra Ordinary” is a lightweight, feel-good film of course, yet it’s very rare to see entire casts able to blend in this type of cheeky comedy so naturally nowadays. Plus, Rose and Martin are such a wonderful and lovable pairing. A female team of Ghostbusters may not be appreciated in a male-dominated pop culture, but “Extra Ordinary” will certainly entertain the indie cinephile.
- Distributor: Cranked Up Films
- Production: Blinder Films and Wildcard Distribution
- Director: Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern
- Writer: Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern
- Producer: Ailish Bracken, Yvonne Donohoe, Katie Holly, and Mary McCarthy
- Cast: Maeve Higgins, Barry Ward, Will Forte, Claudia O’Doherty, Jamie Beamish, Terri Chandler, Risteard Cooper, and Emma Coleman
- “Extra Ordinary” premiered at SXSW 2019.
Read the review in Chinese