"Extract": DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2009)

12/24/2009 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review


Written and directed by Mike Judge, 89 minutes, rated R.

by Christopher Smith

Mike Judge's “Extract,” now on DVD and Blu-ray disc, stars Jason Bateman as Joel Reynold, a rich, likable shmuck having one of those weeks in which he can’t get a break.

He can’t get it on with his wife, Suzie (Kristen Wiig), who won’t sleep with him; he finds himself under fire at the factory he owns when a mishap partially castrates a co-worker named Step (Clifton Collins Jr.); and he has a friend in Dean (Ben Affleck) who insists that he use all sorts of drugs, which over the course of the movie extracts from Joel’s life almost any chance of him getting it back on track.

Judge wrote the movie, which is the flip side of his funnier 1999 film, “Office Space.” Here, instead of the staff being pounded by life (they get their share of it, but they aren’t the focus), it’s the boss who must wade through a minefield of mishaps.

For example, while under the influence, Joel hires a gigolo (Dustin Milligan) to sleep with his wife so he can feel better about putting the moves on Cindy (Mila Kunis), a saucy con artist who works at Joel’s factory, where she scams wherever she can.

One of the key people in her sites is Step, who initially only wants to settle out of court with Joel until Cindy befriends him, flirts with him, and then hires for him an aggressive lawyer (Gene Simmons, just right in the role) to take Joel down. Cindy’s idea is clear. She’ll coax Step into falling in love with her, and then she’ll take part of the millions he’s almost certain to receive.

About those millions. If Step wins his case, it will bankrupt Joel’s business, which is about to be bought by a much larger corporation. Or will it be, particularly given the pending lawsuit?

What ensues is smart and affable, but not laugh-out-loud funny. Some of the film’s brighter moments involve Joel and Suzie’s interactions with their nosy, nightmarish neighbor Nathan (David Koechner), who has nothing to do with driving the plot forward, but who is so good here, he still lifts the movie. So does J.K. Simmons as Joel’s screwy manager, and also Bateman himself, whose Everyman performance is as grounded as the film’s direction.

Trouble is, a comedy shouldn’t be as grounded as this--you want it to fly. What you hope for in “Extract” are a run of keen, silly laughs--it does, after all, come from the creator of “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “King of the Hill.” But the storylines fail to create an unhinged comedy. Instead, you come away feeling as if somewhere along the way, Judge also was neutered.

Grade: C+

View the trailer for "Extract" here:

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