9/30/13

EXTRACT - REVIEW


Here's one I missed upon its release.

Dunno why, maybe because it was boringly called "Extract".

From Mike Judge, the director of Office Space and Idiocracy, comes this random comedy about an extract factory and how the arrival of a con-woman, played by Mila Kunis, starts screwing things up for the people working there. Jason Bateman plays the owner who not only has to deal with whatever marital problems he's got (his wife is played forgettably by Kristen Wiig) but an unfortunate testicle-related accident that happens to one of his workers leading to the threat of being sued and, of course, Kunis' distracting meddling. Meanwhile, you've got Ben Affleck as a bad-advice-giving stoner bar tender, J.K. Simmons in a fun but underdeveloped role and David Koechner as an annoying neighbour. Extract really is full of those typically quirky Mike Judge characters and some of them do provide some good jokes throughout the film. The problem is the film itself. By choosing a small setting as a playing field, the film definitely aims for a more direct and complete target, just like in Office Space. Unfortunately, Extract is riddled with forced subplots that just don't add up and characters that should be likeable or at least feel useful but in the end sort of fade away like bad smells.

Jason Bateman plays basically every Jason Bateman role he's ever played and does well in said role but story-wise, he is given very little to work with. For such a straight-forward little flick, it's surprising how messy it actually is. The whole con-woman thing with Mila Kunis feels like it's set to become the central focus of the film but ends up being a mild annoyance in a sea of mild annoyances. Kunis' character never rings true and it's never clear quite what that character was about. Hell, the film itself forgets about her by the end. Is she a femme fatale? Is she being controlled by someone? Is she in love with Bateman's character? Is she using him? Has she been arrested? F*** knows. Who cares? Then there's the whole Wiig subplot which sees a drugged-up Bateman agree to let bearded Ben Affleck find a gigolo to have an affair with his wife so he can have an affair with Kunis. This apparently happens off-camera 15 times and by the end we're meant to not only like this couple but find this whole situation hilarious AND root for them to get back together when clearly it's been established and confirmed that these two are horrible people who want nothing to do with each other. Again, this could have been the focus of a whole film but instead it's tacked-on for shits and giggles in the background and only ends up leaving a bad taste in your mouth. As does the death of a character near the end which just ends up making that character feel like a complete waste of time.

For a fan of Office Space, Idiocracy and 99% of Judge's work, this is a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, it has its moments but overall it's far too messy and just not funny enough to make it worthwhile. Good ideas and good jokes are drowned by unconvincing, borderline unpleasant subplots and, in the end, you're left wondering what the hell that film wanted to be and was.

A rare mis-Judge.

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