Special (15)

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The Independent Culture

Les (Michael Rapaport) is a hesitant, awkward traffic warden, a man so diffident that it seems appropriate for everyone to pronounce his name "less". But that changes when he volunteers to test a new drug with an unusual side effect. After taking one pill, he either develops super powers, or he thinks he does. Either way, he dresses up in a makeshift costume and patrols the hazy, sun-bleached streets of Los Angeles, keeping an eye out for convenience story robbers.

Unsurprisingly, Special is the work of two first-time writer-directors who were dead set on getting a movie made, never mind their lack of funds. It's a one-idea film, an extended sketch which, short as it is, should have been 20 minutes shorter. But its best scenes have a beguiling mixture of comedy and pathos, and Rapaport's ungainly, vulnerable presence is worth the budget of all three X-Men films.