Extract Review

Published 5 years ago by

Short Version: Much like Mila Kunis’ character in the film, Extract teases – and while it’s an enjoyable journey, there’s no big payoff and it leaves us wanting more.

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Screen Rant reviews Extract

Extract comes to us from Mike Judge, the same guy who brought us Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, Idiocracy and Office Space. B&B notwithstanding, Judge’s writing generally delivers low-key (subtle might be the wrong word) humor – the kind that may not cause you to fall out of your chair with laughter, but tickles the back of your brain and sits with you for a spell. Sometimes it takes a while to sink in how really funny it was.

Maybe I forgot that going in – and on the heels of such “laff-riot” comedy as delivered in The Hangover I was hoping for more belly laughs here. While Extract was funny, it left me feeling like I’d been teased by some hot babe. While enjoyable as I sat through it – I yearned for more of a satisfactory, um, conclusion.

Right up front we meet “hot in a working class way” babe Cindy (Mila Kunis) and within about two minutes we see just what sort of person she is in a rather funny opening scene where a couple of guitar shop clerks fawn over her. From there we cut over to our “hero” Joel’s (Jason Bateman) factory and are introduced to a variety of characters who work for him. His company produces extract, as in Almond Extract, the stuff your mom has in her pantry to bake cookies and cakes. He’s come up with some unique way to preserve the flavor better than the competition and they manufacture a variety of flavors. Boring? Yes, but apparently not to Cindy (much to Joel’s surprise) once she arrives at the factory.

We have some stereotypical characters on the factory floor – dude who plays in a rock band and drives a forklift (poorly), newly hired (and wide-eyed) young Hispanic guy just happy to have a job and Step (Clifton Collins Jr.) as a redneck blue-collar guy with aspirations of being the floor manager. But the one who stood out for me was Beth Grant as Mary, the curmudgeon old lady who’s worked there for 14 years – complaining every… single… day. While she played the role well, she annoyed me beyond the point of humor to where I hoped she would come to some messy end in the film.

Basically the story is about Joel feeling like his life is pretty mundane despite his financial success and his frustration with his “brother-sister type” marriage which suffers from a severe lack of sex. There’s quite a funny running joke about him having to get home before his wife (played by Kristen Wiig) puts on her sweat pants for the evening. Anyway, Cindy comes into the scene and besides being very attractive she knows how to “work it” and let out enough rope to get guys thinking she’s interested.

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Ben Affleck and Jason Bateman in 'Extract'

While we also have the always enjoyable J.K. Simmons as a manager who calls everyone “dinkus” and a guest appearance by Gene Simmons as a sleazy ambulance chaser lawyer, the real stand out supporting actor was Ben Affleck as Dean – Joel’s laid back, semi-cosmic-thinking bartender best friend. Affleck was given pretty much all the best lines in the movie, including one exchange where Joel says “hot girls need jobs, too” and after a perfectly timed pause Dean replies “Do they… really?”

Back to the annoying character side of things we have Joel’s stalker-like neighbor (played with perfect annoying syrupiness by David Koechner) who seems to lay in wait for Joel to come home and is oblivious to any sense of urgency or business on Joel’s part. If nothing else the guy highlights how overly polite and whipped Joel is when he can’t even firmly tell the guy to beat it as the conversation drags on interminably. Bateman is a master of the understated character and he’s completely convincing here in the role of frustrated guy who’s too polite and weak to change his life.

There are lots of funny bits sprinkled throughout the film (among others, scenes with the young, blonde pool cleaner dude are pretty funny) – but it never gets to the point where you’re laughing out loud for more than a quick “Ha!” (if that makes any sense). However as I pointed out above, I have a feeling that this is one of those movies that you’ll appreciate more with repeated viewings (I’ll probably end up wishing I gave it an extra half star) – there are a LOT of gems in the script, all delivered in a low key way that almost underplays them too much. If you go, stay at least a couple of minutes after the credits start as a plot point is resolved (rather weakly) there.

So overall I enjoyed it as it went along but in the end I was hoping for a bit more satisfaction – especially at the end of the film, which just kind of tapers off… While I’d say it’s worth seeing, I was really wanting more from Mike Judge and Extract.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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TAGS: 3 star movies, extract

16 Comments

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  1. Wow, I was hoping for a better reccomendation.
    I dont like movies without strong endings.
    That could be a deal breaker.
    Thanks for the review Vic.

  2. This seems like an Extract of “The Office.” Almost a direct knock off,,,

    Is anything else coming out this weekend ??? Oh yeah Halloween 2. Sheesh,,, I’ll watch a dvd at home thanks,,

  3. @790 – Um did you forget about Gamer and All About Steve? Both should fight for the top 2 spots this week. Gamer just looks cool and All About Steve is going to benefit from Sandra Bullock’s and Bradley Cooper’s summer suceess with The Proposal and The Hangover.

  4. Yeah I just can’t get into Gamer for some reason, o yeah its this years version of “Running Man”. ;-)

  5. Guys, this is a tough one – if you’re a fan of Mike Judge’s other work I’m sure you’ll like this film.

    As to Gamer, no pre-screenings = uh oh. I may go see that on my own dime tonight and review it.

    Vic

  6. Well, Gamer is sitting at 2 (out of 7) positive reviews at rottentomatoes. All About Steve is at %00. I’ll probably still see Gamer though.

  7. Extract is ok. I would agree with this review. There are a few genuine laugh out loud moments but mostly the movie maintains a decent “chuckle” rate. I’d say the best laugh out loud moment is when Bateman’s character goes on a tirade when the employees tell him they want to go on strike. It only works because of all the setup/buildup that leads to it. I’d say another weakness of this movie is that some of the characters like Kristen Wiig and JK Simmons aren’t really given much comedy to do. JK Simmons when he does appear reigns supreme as far as I’m concerned. He was the only actor I thought was funny in Burn After Reading. Even with small roles Simmons consistently manages to bring the laughter. Oddly enough I was not bothered by the annoying/stupid characters which is a pet peeve of mine in comedies. That may have been because the stupid/annoying characters here are actually funny. I think most movies fail to pull that off.

    I’d recommend it just because it feels like a different type of comedy that what we’ve been given the last few years. One can only watch so many apatow styled comedies.

    I was more disappointed with the Hangover more this movie. The hangover was more overtly going for the big laughs but in my opinion mostly failed with extremely unlikeable characters and situations that were just stupid. Surprisingly that movie had a decent plot. the only highlight was Heather Graham.

  8. I saw Extract and it IS worth seeing. The jokes in it are consistant. The only thing about it is that the pacing is slower than all the other comedies coming out. Not to say that you will be bored; I was very entertained the whole movie, but the jokes are smarter and dont just crank out like all the other raunchy comedies. GO SEE IT! I laughed pretty hard. I also think that this movie will become more popular after some time has passed just like Judge’s other films that are really funny.

  9. I thought it was good, I’d give it a 3/5 probably. You were right there wasn’t really many times where I’d actually laugh out loud, more like a lot of small ha’s or quick chuckles thrown in there. BUT, when Kunis was in Bateman’s office near the beginning and Affleck walks in and is introduced to her and he’s like “Oh hel-DAYUUUUUUUUUUUM!” I was laughing for that for like a minute cause Affleck did it perfectly. lol

  10. This movie is just like my life I work in this factory!

  11. this review is giving the movie a lot more credit than it's due. The only thing that happens in this movie is a steady decline of a man's life that he manages to barely curb. Last time I checked there isn't a successful story of any kind with that sort of character and/or emotional arc. It was bad followed by worse concluded with crap.

  12. nothing at all like the office, you are indeed incorrect

  13. this review is giving the movie a lot more credit than it's due. The only thing that happens in this movie is a steady decline of a man's life that he manages to barely curb. Last time I checked there isn't a successful story of any kind with that sort of character and/or emotional arc. It was bad followed by worse concluded with crap.

  14. nothing at all like the office, you are indeed incorrect

  15. This movie appoints a specific theme experienced by many families. The husband (Joel) too workaholic, forget his wife. It’s compounded by the presence of Cindy at work place. But, the ending is good. And I like the wife’s satire “hen we say things like, “I don’t think so,” or “I’m not sure,” or we close the door in your face, that means, “No.””