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Extract (2009)

September 21, 2009

5/10 Letdowns

Man, what a meh comeback for Mike Judge.

Extract is about a guy that runs a flavoring extract company whose life gets turned upside down when his marriage turns to shit because he accidentally took some horse tranquilizers and hired a gigolo to have sex with his wife in a strange effort to make it okay for him to cheat on her. All the while, his job is being jeopardized by an employee who’s suing the company after losing a testicle in a freak accident at the plant

So here’s the big problem about this storyline: who cares? I was hoping this would work out to be an Office Space 2 of sorts, kind of relaying the fact that it sucks to work in a shitty job, but it completely steers clear of that and ends up being this total downer of a movie about people you won’t care about with stupid problems you won’t care about either. There’s this running gag of sorts about how the main character, played by Jason Bateman, is the only person that really cares about flavoring extract, but instead of sympathizing with him and understanding his passion, you just end up agreeing with everyone else.

That’s not good. There’s actually not much about the story that’s good at all.

Then again, it is funny at times, but we all know that Mike Judge can do a whole lot better. There are a ton of situations that could easily bring laughs, but more often than not they just result in another missed opportunity. I can recall maybe two or three times where the theater laughed collectively at something on-screen, but aside from that, I was hearin’ crickets, baby. Another unfortunate scenario where the funniest parts of the movie are all in the trailer.

But the star of the show was easily, and surprisingly, Ben Affleck as Jason Bateman’s best friend who’s solution to all of life’s problems can be found in a bong or a pill. There’s a lot of funny people in the cast, but for some reason he’s the only one here who’s actually trying to be funny. It’s good to see him in roles like this that just allow him to relax and be himself, like his bit role in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. You’re a funny dude, Ben. You make me laugh.

And like I said, everyone else is fine. Jason Bateman has his moments, so do Kristen Wiig and J.K. Abrams, but nothing standout. And this guy, David Koechner, he’s got a bit role, and no, he’s still not funny. The whole cast just looks like they’re going through the motions and that’s about it.

I feel like I’ve been a little harsh in this review, but Extract isn’t bad, it’s just disappointing. My good buddy Fred said he spent the movie putting a to-do list together in his head for the next day, and that’s about how interested you’ll probably be in it, too. If the script had gone through a couple more drafts and Judge had brainstormed a bit longer on the punch lines, this could have been gold. But nonetheless, Mike Judge is still a really funny guy and it’s gotta be pretty tough to live up to movies like Office Space and Beavis and Butthead Do America (freakin’ hilarious, under-appreciated movie).

I’ll be waiting Mike. You’ll do better next time, I just know you will.

One Comment leave one →
  1. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    September 21, 2009 5:32 pm

    While I’ll agree “Extract” lacks all the bite of, say, “Office Space” and the savage wit of the very underrated “Idiocracy,” I still found things to like about Judge’s new movie. If you really think about it, he’s always had a soft spot for Everyman, the average guy just trying to stay afloat, and he’s always given that guy a happy ending. In that light, I kind of see “Extract” as the kinder, gentler movie Judge’s been waiting years to make. Maybe he just had to have a little more money in the bank.

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