Movie Review: “Special”

   Special is a 2006 drama film written and directed by Hal Haberman and Jeremy Passmore. The movie was released in theaters in the United States on November 21, 2008. It received mixed responses from critics, and I’ll say that it was most certainly an interesting experience for me as a viewer.

    The film stars Michael Rapaport as the story’s protagonist along with a supporting cast of Josh Peck, Robert Baker, Jack Kehler, Alexandra Holden, and Paul Blackthorne. 

     It focuses on the story of Les Franken, a run-of-the-mill guy that doesn’t have a whole lot going on in his life. His life itself isn’t actually too depressing or bad. He seems like a regular guy. He is an unremarkable parking-enforcement officer that spends a lot of his time at a comic-book store, chatting amongst friends, and that’s basically his day-plan. He finds himself growing increasingly disgruntled with the plainness of his day, which is something most of us go through.

    I think that a lot of people can relate to this, … life can be an incredibly boring thing. There aren’t any crazy clowns running around, there isn’t masked men with capes trying to stop them, and so it’s easy to find yourself becoming hungry for more in your life. 

    There’s a lot of ways that you can react to this, Les Franken chose to counteract the mundane through an off the whim decision, signing up for an experimental antidepressant. Woo! 

    Les keeps a diary specifically for his experiences, and finds that he isn’t have any results. 

    This is, of course, until he notices that he now has the ability to levitate.

    The movie is filled with moments that I found myself laughing uncontrollably at. While it certainly provides a lot of humor, I wouldn’t categorize it with movies such as Kick-Ass or Alter Egos though. Kick-Ass has plenty of depth and they even tackle a similar feeling of dissatisfaction, but I think this one calls for more harrowing and realness. 

    There are a lot of sad and emotionally moving moments throughout the movie, especially during the second-half, and I often found myself getting caught like a fish on a hook. The performance from Michael Rapaport is absolutely brain-shattering in how good it is, him being able to make you laugh and feel bad at the turn of a dime, but I am happy to say that I found myself enjoying his friends as well.

    A lot of critics noted how readily apparent the miniscule budget is, which I think can quite literally be seen with the visual quality, but other-wise, I didn’t need any special-effects for this one. All that I needed from this movie was the emotionally dedicated performance, and the laughter that happened to come along the way.

    The only thing that is really flawed about the movie is how underdeveloped the antagonist seemed, which wouldn’t be a bad thing because the movie is more about Les’ story than anything else, but they actually seemed like they were trying to do more with them at times but never went very far. They always looked like they were trying to add depth, but then apparently decided that character development for those characters was stupid.

    Honestly, the movie was eighty-one minutes long, so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they actually cut a lot of it out. 

    Whatever the case, I am not even sure that I wanted for them to be more developed because it might have taken away from the actual message that it was trying to send. We don’t need to solidify them because this isn’t a superhero movie. They are nothing more than props to help progress the protagonist’s story.

    In conclusion, the movie had a fair flowing of humor, however, I think that it’s Michael Rapaport’s performance that will make you happy that you picked this movie off the shelves. And I think it’s a very good movie in-general. 

Rating: – 3.0 out of 5.0