Friday, September 4, 2009



It has been far too long since Mike Judge has given movie goers something good to watch. His last film in 2006 was Idiocracy, a little known movie starring Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph. The film did not get widespread release (because it is not very good, but still funny) and only took in 4oo K domestically. Some may know Judge from his TV cartoon exploits from King of the Hill or the Beavis and Butthead franchise; but his most famous work is the cult classic Office Space. Extract has the same semblance of Office Space as viewers see the workplace depicted as boring, full of annoying and interesting characters, and the spoils of a 9 to 5.

First to discuss is the two very lovely ladies in Extract named Mila Kunis and Kristen Wiig. Kunis is famous for her role of Jackie in That 70's Show as well as the wonderful character Rachael in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Wiig has been woven into many successful comedies (Knocked Up, Adventureland) over the past years and now is a regular cast member on SNL. Despite Mila being exponentially hotter than Kristen Wiig, both looked radiant in their roles on screen and both did fine work portraying their characters. Oh Mila...why won't she call me back??
Extract features Jason Bateman as Joel, the founder and owner of a cooking extract company that makes, packages, and distributes it's fine product from one building. To run the company Joel has a whole group of misfits working to manufacture this product many of whom are hardly fit to supervise an ant farm. Joel has an empty marriage with his wife Suzie (Wiig) and a thankless job as the founder and CEO of this company. He is unhappy to say the least. Things get a little shaken up as a new temp Cindy (Kunis) works her woman charms on the men at the factory, and anyone else who falls in her path.
Mila Kunis plays a character that viewers have never seen her portray before. Cindy is a con woman who travels from here to there looking for her next job and the new target is an employee of the Extract company she is looking to exploit. She is two faced in the sense that she uses her beauty and the craft of flirting to make men fall all over themselves to do whatever she wants. She has a devious agenda and if she comes asking, remember to do the opposite.

While this movie is not nearly as funny as Office Space, it has the same charm and subliminal comedy. It is not laugh out loud funny, but smart humor that makes you think, then laugh. Don't however think this movie doesn't feature comedy that makes you blurt out laughing, it just is not full of it. And I also realize it's unfair to compare this film to Office Space, but it is warranted seeing the many similarities the two have in common.

Bateman depicts a similar character to his role on one of the greatest and under appreciated shows of all time Arrested Development (if you haven't seen it, the show can be watched here). The character is one that is pushed around and forced into awkward and uncomfortable situations all while Bateman is trying to keep himself sane amidst the chaos. (sounds just like Arrested Development doesn't it?) I personally love Jason Bateman, and he is the reason this film was a success in my opinion.
Ben Afleck is the funniest character in the movie as a drug loving, hippie looking, hotel bartender named Dean. He not only has next to no morals, the way he voices his beliefs and concerns are truly going to make many laugh themselves to tears. Dean provides many bad pieces of advice to many of the problems taking place in Joel's life, and taking the degenerate's advice causes Joel's problems harder to navigate out of.

The script for this project was fairly well composed. The story highlighted the many quirky characters and the oddities in their lives. I must say that not all the characters were interesting enough for extended viewing and at some of those points the story seemed to drag its feet a little. The film didn't seem to go too long at 131 minutes, but some of the character's scenes were drawn out making me sit waiting for what was next.
I think this script failed to focus on more than just the main character Joel. He is the only one that is given time to develop besides a few scenes featuring Wiig as his wife Suzie. While this is a comedy, Judd definitely wanted to define the characters in Extract shown by the use of lots and lots of dialogue. By the characters not getting more developmental scenes I found it hard to discover what each role was supposed to contribute and where the film was headed to reach a conclusion. Which brings me to the end, another part of the film I thought could have been written better.

Overall, Extract is another comedy from Judge that is full of laughs surrounding the workplace setting. Jason Bateman flourishes as the screen's featured star with a cast of supporting characters to keep this project churning. The casting was perfect to fit all the strange characters in Extract, and the actors themselves executed their roles soundly. It is full of laughs and the comedy feels fresh like that of Office Space. Any fan of Mike Judge and his work need to see Extract. This film is definitely worth your money for a few good laughs.


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