Monday, December 7, 2009

Extract (2009)


After an employee (Clifton Collins Jr.) at his extract plant gets hurt in an accident, Joel (Jason Bateman) accidentally takes a horse tranquilizer from his friend Dean (Ben Affleck), and hires a male prostitute to sleep with his wife (Kristen Wiig), so that he can guilt free cheat on her with his sexy new employee (Mila Kunis).

After waiting years for his next major release comedy (let's be honest Idiocracy was not that good) Mike Judge has dropped the very mediocre Extract on his loyal fans. Now I would never go as far to as to call Extract bad, as much as I would say uninspired. While Office Space felt like an ingenious send up to the stupidity of the current work system, Extract feels like a send up to the stupidity of business owners, and their wives lack of desire to put out, than anything. If nothing else Extract really just manages to be entertaining. It's short run time glides by as plot point after plot point are tackled, constantly filling space with new things for the viewer to sink their teeth into.

Of course with all these plot points Judge forgot on the very basic thing that allowed us to love his prior work, the characters. Joel is barely established as a character (beyond generic, I just wanted to make extract life long dream - happens to us all), while his friends come and go with a particular character quirk and that's about it. One some level almost each of his characters feels like a shell of his characters from Office Space. All too uninspired, and never really grasping at the depth you'd expect from such a comedy. At the same time though I'm not sure if I would really ever call it a comedy. I laughed a couple of times, but more often than not I was more concerned with where the story was going than whether or not a joke had just been said.

There's something to be said for that sort of narrative adventure. It's not the most memorable, but it doesn't force you to boredom while you eagerly anticipate the role of credits. As well nothing that happens in the movie is really all that shocking (say maybe one piece of the ending). Most of the plot points you'd expect are the ones that come, and even then there's not much you could ask for differently. Extract is one of those films that just runs its course, and by the end you're basically left with the thought, "ok, well that's over." Nothing good or bad, nothing annoyingly present or not present, just a generally mediocre film throughout.

Mediocre from start to finish, there's nothing overly impressive about Mike Judge's latest outing, other than its general feeling of uninspired.

2 better thoughts:

Andrew Gerald Hales said...

Ben Afleck is funny in this. I liked this movie I don't even care.

M. Carter @ the Movies said...

The more reviews I read, the more convinced I become that I am the only Mike Judge fan who liked "Extract." It's much more low-key than "Office Space" or "Idiocracy," but I don't have a problem with that. To me, it shows that Judge has matured somewhat because there boss is the most well-rounded character in "Extract" -- he's not the heartless bastard he was in "Office Space."

I also think the film contained some great performances from Mila Kunis (nicely coming into her own as a comic actress), J.K. Simmons, Jason Bateman and Clifton Collins Jr. (when can he get another big role like "Capote"?). Ben Affleck, however, makes the movie.

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