Monday, September 7, 2009

Movie review: Extract (2009)

Movie Review: Extract

It was about 10 years ago that Mike Judge released Office Space, a box office bomb that turned into a huge sleeper of a cult favorite. Obviously, his newest film Extract couldn't avoid the comparisons, as both are workplace comedies, but I think the comparisons are unfair and a bit of a stretch. Extract is a different animal than Office Space and Judge's last film Idiocracy.

Extract follows Joel (Jason Bateman), the owner of a plant that manufactures artificial flavorings. He's pretty settled into his life of dysfunctional employees and stagnating marriage, complaining only to his best friend/ bartender Dean (a hilarious Ben Affleck). Things take a 180 when a factory accident leaves both the company and Joel vulnerable to a shady, sexy drifter (Mila Kunis).

I think that Bateman did a good job in the film, but it's the minor characters such as the factory workers and Bateman's irritating neighbor Nathan (David Koechner) that make the movie. Affleck definitely steals the show with his mellow, hazy, bad advice; after seeing him in this, I really want to see him get more decent straight-up comedy roles. Also, it was refreshing to see Kristen Wiig (playing Suzie, Joel's wife) in something where she wasn't making weird voices, even if she didn't get much screen time.

I don't think this one is going to make the “party circuit” like some comedy movies (Clerks, The Hangover or yes, Office Space, even though I said I wasn't going to compare the two). This movie is more giggle, slice of life humor than balls out “OMG I can't breathe” jokes (though there were plenty of laugh out loud moments in the movie, don't get me wrong.) Extract is a little more conventional, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, sort of like Judge's King of the Hill compared to most of the programming on Adult Swim. I'd feel a lot more comfortable taking my mom to see this movie than Judge's other efforts, as it's not “weird funny” (direct quote from my mom). Aside: my mom's a hip lady, but your mom might not be too keen on ball jokes and sex talk, fair warning.

In interviews Judge has said that Extract was created from several different script ideas. While the film doesn't feel disjointed, you can definitely tell this is the case. The different story lines all work together, but I would've liked to have seen them fleshed out a little more at times.

Over all, I liked it well enough. I'd recommend Extract for watching, maybe not for buying unless you SUPER SERIOUSLY dug it. It's not revolutionary-funny by any means, but it's a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Final verdict: 7/10

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