Extract, the fourth feature-length film from director/producer/writer/actor/animator/renaissance-man extraordinaire Mike Judge, follows Joel (Jason Bateman), an extract plant owner, as he deals with troubles with his employees at work and marital issues at home. A simple and relatively boring sounding plot, right? But let me remind you that Judge is the creator of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill. He brought us the cult classic Office Space. This guy knows how to extract comedy gold from the mundane! Pun intended.
He did, however, also make that stinker of a film called Idiocracy...
Sadly Extract is more like Idiocracy.
Joel is the nice regular guy who we, the audience, are meant to identify with and Jason Bateman plays this type of character well... and often. Joel's sex life with his wife, played by the hilarious yet extremely underutilized Kristin Wiig, is practically non-existent. So, when the hot new girl (Mila Kunis) is hired at his business and begins to flirt with him, Joel is is itchin to get his groove on. Oh yeah, Kunis is also supposed to be a con-artist but that plot point gets lost and serves almost no purpose in the film so we'll ignore that. Meanwhile, on the business front, the extract plant finds a potential buyer and Joel sees the opportunity to unload this burden of a plant and make a ton of skrilla. Unfortunately for Joel, a bizarre accident at the plant, resulting in a partial castration of an employee, leaves a lawsuit on his hands and a loss of confidence from his potential buyer. Ideally at this point, hilarity would ensue.
The problem with Extract isn't completely the story, although it is pretty bland. The plot is easy to follow and would allow room for characters to really own scenes and capture that human quirkiness Judge is so great at capturing. The main issues are that none of the characters seem to gel with each other well, the dialogue isn't that funny, and it is hard to sympathize with the motivations of the characters. Bateman is the perfect straight guy to react towards the oddballs around him but never get the chance with this cast. Watch Arrested Development, for example. No, really. Go watch Arrested Development. I'll wait...
Judge is just a little too good at making a bunch of regular people. So regular that they end up boring and mundane in this film. Ben Affleck plays a pill-popping bartender friend of Joel who functions as the means for him to express his concerns and frustrations to the audience. Just like Diedrich Bader in Office Space. Whereas Bader was a lovable redneck whose dream was to do two chicks at the same time, Affleck is just a sad drug-addled dude who... no, that's about all he was.
J.K. Simmons, one of my favorite actors plays the factory manager and his quirk is that he doesn't care to remember the employee's names. Really, tha'ts all his character really does. The only shining star in the film is the brilliant David Koechner (Anchorman), who plays Joel's annoyingly chatty neighbor. He steals every scene and only his bits made me perk up and actually laugh.
Despite what I complain about above, this isn't a terrible film. It's just not that amusing and I know the cast and Mike Judge are capable of delivering far greater material than this. That's enough of my whining. Let move on to:
After not really enjoying the film, I wasn't too enthusiastic about watching the extras. Luckily, they only put a measly three special features on the disc!
Yep, "scene". Not "scenes". There is one and it's nothing worth including on the DVD.
Three deleted scenes that didn't add or detract anything from the film. Mainly stuff with Ben Affleck.
Making of Extract
This is a typical pat-ourselves-on-the-back "making of" where they talk about how great everyone who worked on the film is. T.J. Miller (Cloverfield, "Carpoolers") tries to be funny in the interviews but everyone else is being straght-forward so it sadly doesn't work out for him. :(