Extract (2009)

Extract is the latest comedy by Mike Judge, whose previous feature films only include Office Space and Idiocracy. While the first is considered a cult classic, the second was met with mixed reviews. The same holds true for Extract, which is an enjoyable film, but never finds itself being extraordinarily funny or quotable.

Extract is similar to Office Space in a lot of ways, a comparison that it is impossible to ignore. A lot of the humor takes place from the workplace and how manager Joel, played by Jason Bateman, reacts to it. The film follows Joel through various problems, both professional and personal, again very similar to Office Space.

I will compliment Judge on his ability to pick good straight men. Ron Livingston made Office Space the masterpiece that it is. Luke Wilson handled Idiocracy well and was one of its redeeming points. Jason Bateman similarly succeeds in this position. Bateman mastered the likeable and rational protagonist in the fantastic series Arrested Development, and that role shines through naturally for Bateman in Extract. You know you’re a likeable guy when you can be rooted for even while hiring a guy to sleep with your wife.

Extract is also propped up by a fantastic supporting cast. Everyone is tailored to their roles, and most of them are enjoyable to have on screen. The least impressive of the cast was Mila Kunis. Kunis is very saucy but brings little to her role, which is really just there to exacerbates Joel’s problems.

Stand-outs are J.K. Simmons, who rarely disappoints in his character portrayals, and Dustin Milligan, playing the fantastically dim-witted guy hired to sleep with Joel’s wife. David Koechner gets a few laughs as a persistent and overbearing neighbor. His character certainly stands out as a Judge creation, but the humor had dispelled by his final few scenes. Clifton Collins, Jr. is fun to have onscreen as a simple but genial factory worker, and Gene Simmons brings a lot of energy to a cameo role suited for him.

The problem with Extract is that while it has a talented and familiar cast, it rarely evokes audible laughter. It’s more intelligent than most of its competitive fare (even with a Rube Goldberg castration inciting incident), but it doesn’t have enough moments that create and sustain laughter like Office Space did. Extract is a fun movie to watch and I enjoyed the time I spent with it, but as a comedy it just doesn’t bring enough laughs to the table. Perhaps with a less-acclaimed debut, Judge could get away with a movie of this quality. Many of us are still waiting for “the next Office Space“, however, and Extract, despite its similarities, isn’t it.

Final rating: 6/10

–James A. Janisse





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