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Extract (Blu-ray Review)

20 Dec, 2009 By: John Latchem


Street 12/22/09
Box Office $10.8 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language, sexual references and some drug use.
Stars Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, J.K. Simmons, Ben Affleck, Kristen Wiig, David Koechner, Clifton Collins Jr., Gene Simmons.

Compared to director Mike Judge’s other films, Extract just doesn’t have the juice (pardon the pun). It lacks the fundamental appeal of Office Space or the wit of Idiocracy.

Overall, the film seems to be quite literally an exercise in futility, as it follows young entrepreneur Joel (Jason Bateman) through the beginnings of a mid-life crisis.

Joel is owner and founder of Reynolds Extract, a bottling company that produces artificial flavoring. Joel wants to sell the plant and leave his lazy employees behind so he can spend more time with his wife, Suzie (Kristen Wiig). The potential sale is put on hold, however, when an accident costs one of his employees, Step (Clifton Collins Jr.) a testicle. Step would rather take the insurance settlement and move on, but decides to sue after meeting Cindy (Mila Kunis), a con-artist who wants to rob Step of his potential winnings.

To learn about Step, Cindy takes a job at the plant, and meets Joel, who becomes infatuated with her. Since Joel and his wife barely have sex anymore, he considers an affair with Cindy, but dismisses the idea until bartender dean (Ben Affleck) convinces him to send a gigolo to seduce Suzie, thus giving Joel an excuse to cheat on her. And so on.

In focusing on management, Extract sets itself up to be the flipside of Office Space, which so brilliantly captured the spirit of the everyman employee. Then it kind of drifts off the track. For a few moments, Judge presents his trademark observational humor, and these scenes are quite funny. But they are few and far between.

Individual performances are the best reason to check out the film. Bateman is his usual charming self as Joel, and Affleck gives a deft comic turn as the stoner bartender who can’t stop giving bad advice. J.K Simmons nearly steals the movie as Brian, the plant manager who hates everybody there, refuses to learn their names, insults them constantly and can’t wait for Joel to sell so he can move on to better things.

Mike Judge fans will get a kick out of the behind-the-scenes featurette, which takes viewers into the mindset of the writer-director and his knack for extracting material from the mundane.

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