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Awkward situational humor has really been the staple of all of Mike
Judge's films and TV ventures (besides the immortal Beavis and
Butthead), and his latest effort, "Extract", is really no different.
The viewer, I'm guessing, is supposed to laugh at these situations and
just take it from there, allowing the actors to feel around. This takes
the emphasis off the actors and more on the story, and therein lies the
problem. "Extract" is a comedy built for one thing and written for
another, and in the end, it becomes a mildly, yet forgettable movie.
"Extract" is so obviously written to be the next "Office Space", which will forever remain Judge's crown jewel as far as films go. The situations are awkwardly funny, yet there really doesn't seem to be a balance to most of it. Judge's newest is rather repetitive in its approach - Joel goes to work, is unhappy. Joel comes home, is interrupted by his annoying neighbor. Joel goes to the bar. Ben Affleck says something witty. Mila Kunis looks hot. The film continues down this path aimlessly, not really offering to build up any suspense as to what could happen with our characters, until a really useless event in the plot causes the movie to end. It experiments with a bit of character development in the lead role of Joel, but everyone else is either a cliché, someone who is not worth developing, or a plot device.
You'll notice that I said the film is written to be an awkward situational comedy, and it clearly is - however, the comedians cast in parts are not really meant for these kind of roles. For some (Jason Bateman, Dustin Milligan), it works and they fit their characters well. For others (Mila Kunis, Clifton Collins Jr.), both actor and character seem out of place, like they belong in a more slapstick or more vulgar and/or stereotypical comedy. The real plus comes from Ben Affleck, who is hilarious just about every time he graces us with his presence, while Kristen Wiig is VASTLY underused. Clifton Collins Jr. is great as well, while Mila Kunis is almost as out of place as she was in "Max Payne". If anything, this film has the most random cameo of all time from Gene Simmons.
Maybe Judge has lost his touch, though I doubt that, because he has a great cameo in the film as well...but his writing is done in a way that it feels like he's building up to one huge punchline that never comes. Don't get me wrong, most people will have a few chuckles and smiles at "Extract", but with Judge's name on it, you'd expect it to be a bit better than the occasional laugh and grin. It doesn't know whether to be absurd, as some characters and jokes are, or the awkward comedy that Judge is so great at doing.
To put it simple, "Extract" lacks the strength of plot, relatability, and character development that Judge's previous works have had. Joel is no Peter from "Office Space". Ben Affleck's character, an obvious rehash of Deidrich Bader's character from the same movie, is the one saving grace, and even he isn't good enough to stop this from becoming nothing more than a mediocre comedy that's best saved for a DVD rental.
I went in to see this movie with pretty low expectations after having
read the tepid reviews here and seeing the film only got 63% on rotten
tomatoes. I was really pleasantly surprised! First of all, Jason
Bateman is awesome and his strength and performance really carry this
film. There are a couple of memorable supporting characters but for the
most part I felt the actors playing the supporting characters could
have been better. Ben Affleck is amusing. Kristen Wiig is a great foil
for Jason Bateman.
The story is fairly simple but eventful and effective. I laughed out loud several times. The running time is perfect at 90 minutes. Overall, my husband and I loved this movie and were very entertained. I recommend it.
OK, so it's not Office Space.
Extract reminds me of "Fierce Creatures", another film that had the terrible burden of trying to live up to a previous film made by the same people that achieved genius-level. Well, it seems that making a great comedy can be like waiting for a lightning strike.
Extract is not at the level of Office Space, but it's still very funny. Jason Bateman plays Joel, the owner of an extract factory ('extract' is in flavoring, like vanilla extract). His sex life has become non-existent, and some problems are arising at the workplace. He's tempted by the arrival of a gorgeous temp (Mila Kunis) who also happens to be a thief and con woman. He finds himself hanging out at the office with his buddy Dean (Ben Affleck) who advises him to hire a gigolo for his wife. This sounds like a terrible idea until Dean gives Joel a horse tranquilizer, which seriously impedes his judgment.
And much hilarity ensues.
The cast is terrific, including those named above and Kristen Wiig as Joel's wife; JK Simmons as Joel's partner; Dustin Milligan as Brad, the gigolo; and David Koechner as the neighborhood bore, Nathan. Gene Simmons has an excellent small role as Joe Adler, a local ambulance chaser who advertises on bus stop benches.
The film takes some unusual twists and turns and on the whole offers a lot of laughs. It does not hit the heights of Office Space, but after the dreadfully dull Idiocracy, it makes for a nice film.
"Extract" works well with a majority of its audience. Reason is
clear...the cast is very good, story is not boring or cheap; comedy is
neither vulgar nor downright stupid; at ~90 minutes it doesn't bore
anyone and it has a happy ending!!! Cast wise, a very good job. Jason
Bateman plays the sex-deprived businessman role very well. Mila Kunis
looks hot throughout the movie and that's exactly what her character
was all about. Ben Affleck has a small but a very funny role. JK
Simmons hardly does anything wrong about his acting. Others are good in
The best thing about "Extract" is that the humor is maintained throughout the movie. It's neither cheap vulgar comedy nor downright stupid comedy. The comedy is an elaborate mix of these two poles and that's why this movie is like able. All the characters seem to be performing on a high wire and carry themselves very naturally. There is never a dull moment taking into account the short running time. Besides, the soundtrack is so cool. Really lovely songs.
Overall, "Extract" is a good movie. Can't say it's a very good movie, but still I can guarantee few smiles for sure.
My Verdict: 7/10
One of my favorite comedies is the cult film Office Space. Mike Judge
directed Office Space as well as Extract. I had fairly high
expectations for this movie hoping it would be as enjoyable and
entertaining to watch as Office Space. Unfortunately, I was let down by
Extract after viewing it.
The movie has a few funny moments, but I didn't think it had enough. Ben Afflek gives a mildly amusing performance as a pot smoking stoner. Jason Bateman and Mila Kunis are alright, but nothing special. I can't say the movie was all that memorable either.
Ultimately, Extract is too uneven and unfocused to be called a success. Fans of Office Space and Mike Judge may want to watch Extract out of curiosity. It's not that great, but it is passable.
In some sideways alternate universe I'd like to believe Mike Judge is a
Judd Apatow or an Edgar Wright, which is to say a modern comedy
director whose upcoming projects are actually followed with any degree
of anticipation. Of his two previous live-action films, "Office Space,"
for its flaws, has a special place in my heart and I appreciated
"Idiocracy" more than most. So along comes "Extract," a subtle,
straightforward comedy about the little things in life. You know, inane
neighbors, workplace politics, sexual frustration, male gigolos, and
Okay, maybe it's not all that subtle, but "Extract" is less boisterous than Judge's previous films while retaining their biting, sardonic banter and oddly believable caricatures. Probably the reason the director's work hasn't caught on with mainstream audiences is that their stories and characters are always paramount to their gag writing, which in turn gives them a comparatively low joke-per-minute ratio.
The plot itself isn't as interesting or ambitious as "Office Space" or "Idiocracy" respectively, but the terrific casting and low-key performances keep "Extract" charming even when its story falters. Particular scenes and sequences sag around the middle of the film, and the plot lines never dovetail as well as they probably could, but the narrative, while simple, is strong enough to shield the film from ever becoming an outright bore.
Judge's respect for his storytelling transcends the temptation to pack the film with gimmicky gags or disposable pop culture references, which is refreshing in comparison to the blisteringly unfunny and now highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time, sequel green-lit, "The Hangover." Jason Bateman of "Arrested Development" fame returns as another corporate mogul, though of considerably less affluence than Michael Bluth, and the role, unsurprisingly, fits like a glove. It's not exactly a retread for the actor either, who exhibits an empathetic vulnerability that hasn't existed in his previous roles.
"Extract's" Joel Reynolds is an interesting antithesis to Michael Bluth in that he offers a completely opposite take on the pragmatic modern businessman. Michael is a man who assumes his hardest work has yet to come, where Joel considers his dues paid, and at the outset of the film, is looking to sell his plant and embrace an early retirement. Joel is indicative of Mike Judge's greater analysis of the American working class, and reminiscent also, though not in a derivative sense, of Peter, the protagonist of "Office Space," in that both characters long for a life outside of the workplace. Michael Bluth wants to work; Mike Judge's characters have to work.
The rest of the cast, including Mila Kunis as a con-woman catalyst, J.K. Simmons as name- challenged manager, and Ben Affleck as a worldly hipster doofus, all perform admirably. "Extract" is its cast, and there isn't a bad performance in the bunch.
Judge's latest is a film that really needs to be taken on its own merits. It's a warm, entertaining if unambitious film that may not be as funny as some expect, but is never unfunny, if that makes any sense.
If you're not laughing, it's because the film isn't trying to make you laugh, which is almost a foreign concept in modern comedy and sure to leave some audiences cold. That being said, there isn't much reason to rush out and see the film either. If you're interested in something (somewhat) more mature when "The Hangover 2" hits theaters, "Extract" will make a pretty good rental.
This film is about an extract factory owner who encounters problems
with his family life and in the work place.
Though the delivery of the film is a little flat, the plot does offers engaging moments that makes viewers care for the characters. Though "Extract" is marketed as a comedy, it is not a film that makes you laugh out loud. Instead, it makes you smile when you appreciate Joel's series of unfortunate situations. Many scenes give just the imagery of what is happening, but does not spell it out. For example, the two shots of the wife tying her trousers gives viewers an idea what is being conveyed, in such a subtle manner that is seldom found in comedies. Some people may think "Extract" is a bore, but I do not think so.
Extract is the new comedy which is written and directed by Mike Judge
from who made some films that weren't too successful such as Office
Space and Idiocracy. They have both became cult hits on DVD but they
were both flops when they were originally released. I loved these films
just because of how truly hilarious they are. You can imagine that
Extract would be no different.
The basic plot is about Jason Bateman's character who owns a factory where they make Extract and he wants to sell it. After an accident occurs, the company might get sued which would bankrupt them and he wouldn't be able to sell the company. There's a subplot involving Jason Bateman having problems with his wife not sleeping with him played by Kristen Wiig from SNL, so Ben Affleck who plays his bartender friend convinces him to hire a gigalo to sleep with his wife, so that he could cheat on his wife with Mila Kunis's character, guilt-free. We also know that she's a con artist who is trying to get the company sued.
The plot of this movie is quite a mess. Some parts could have definitely been cut down and others could have been expanded on for this to be a much more effective comedy. I thought anything involving the gigalo was hilarious and that includes the actor who played the gigalo and Ben Affleck. Both of their deliveries really help to sell their lines and most of the times that I would laugh in the film it would be to these two. J.K. Simmons was also very funny as one of the factory workers who couldn't remember anyone's name.
I still think that Mila Kunis didn't even have to be in the movie and she just expanded the plot. She could have at least had a smaller part involved more in the gigalo plot rather than a whole other subplot about her blackmailing the company. If we would have seen more of everything else, it would have been a stronger movie.
Jason Bateman was basically just playing the straight man. Also I thought that David Koechner played the part of the annoying neighbour perfectly. Every time he was on screen, it looked like he was making everyone uncomfortable and I was constantly cracking up at that even there wasn't anything too funny about his lines. Him and Ben Affleck probably made me laugh the hardest.
I don't think Extract can actually be called hilarious, in fact it's even somewhat disappointing for a Mike Judge comedy. I have to admit that it was very funny, but it was probably more amusing than hilarious. It's just not going to be groundbreaking like Office Space was. It does work as an interest companion piece to Office Space but it is no where near the quality.
I have to give Extract a 7.5/10. It was very funny, but it had the potential to be better. Still, this is a slight recommendation or at least a rental and it is still worth seeing because it's still far better than some of the other comedies that are coming out these days.
I claim that my review is unbiased simply because I didn't know
anything about the director. I read all the negative reviews and see
that people are frustrated because they compare it to his earlier works
which are supposedly funnier.I must confess that I didn't know anything
about the director, The Office Space, etc. That's why I had no
expectations. I didn't expect this movie to be funny either. OK, so it
is not funny in a way like a comedy sit com is funny, jokes are not
laughable. This movie has dark humor; it is situations and what happens
to people that makes it comical and even tragic.
Main character, Joel, is the owner of an extract factory that he built from scratch with hard work. He is having some marital problems; his wife is not having sex with him anymore. In the meantime, a young, attractive temp, Cindy, gets hired as an employee. Joel turns to his bartender friend, Dean (a very comical role by Ben Affleck) for advice who talks him into hiring an amateur young stud, Brad, to seduce Joel's wife. If his wife gives into temptation then it is only fair for him to do the same, a seemingly logical way to guilt-free cheating.
I really enjoyed this movie and it somewhat reminded me of American Beauty (maybe because it was about problems of classic suburban families). It successfully portrays flaws of people, such as prejudice, sexual temptation, addiction, greed, ambition, career aspirations, and being intrusive, and most of all, miscommunication. I am really sorry that people didn't enjoy this as much as I did. If you can view this without any expectations you may find that is a quite remarkable film and definitely deserves a rating higher than 7.
Mike Judge has a knack for creating memorable characters. Once again he has put together characters that a lot of people can easily relate to, and that is the strong point of "Extract". What is missing here is an outrageous script like "Idiocracy". Jason Bateman plays a very sympathetic boss of an extract company, and as his troubles mount with his wife and business, you sincerely feel for the poor guy. Unfortunately, "Extract", while well acted, featuring some very colorful characters, lacks the bite of "Office Space" or "Idiocracy" If you go in expecting hilarious, you will be disappointed, but if you look beyond his previous films, the movie might be better appreciated. - MERK
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