Add “Extract” To The Most Disappointing Of 2009
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a movie that bummed me out like “Extract” did this past weekend. Sadly, this is two straight times that Mike Judge directed and written flicks has done it to me. Sure, “Extract”, like “Idiocracy” before it, has some funny moments coupled with a few memorable one-liners…but this movie just doesn’t hold up with recent much better comedies.
The main problem with this movie is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be or what direction it is going in. Are we going to follow Joel (Jason Bateman) and his failing marriage to Suzie (Kristen Wiig)? What about Joel’s flavoring extract plant and the injured worker? Oh, don’t forget about Joel and his stoner friend Dean (Ben Affleck). Then, throw in a bunch of recognizable character actors as plant workers (most notably, the great J.K. Simmons) and you start to wonder if this another clever observation about the workplace. Did I forget to mention bad girl Cindy (Mila Kunis)?
I think you get the idea. Sadly, this big mess can only be attributed to either poor writing or poor directing, which means that blame lies right on Mike Judge’s door. The really unfortunate thing about it is that you can see a funny movie in there somewhere, but there is simply too much going on and it pulls this movie in too many directions.
Hopefully, this doesn’t ruin Jason Bateman’s chances at headlining a movie. He does his best, despite being pulled in a hundred directions. He does awkward rage as good as anyone and gets a few chances to show it off here. Sadly, he is the straight man in this movie and doesn’t really have any of the few funny moments.
The few funny bits (I mean very few) are really left to Ben Affleck. He does have a few memorable lines and the majority of the laugh out loud moments are due to his lines. Most surprisingly, Mila Kunis and J.K. Simmons are completely wasted here. Kunis just looks hot (which isn’t tough) and Simmons actually seems to be sleepwalking through this part. It’s tough to blame him since this is his 103rd movie in the past two years…seriously, he is in everything.
Is it possible that Mike Judge hit movie gold with “Office Space” and has nothing else? It seems to be that is the case since these last two movies can’t even hold a candle to the greatness of his debut movie. “Extract” needed to pick whether it wanted to be a movie about the workplace or a movie about marriage because mixing both just didn’t work out in this case.
Cinematically Correct note: Gene Simmons (yes, that Gene Simmons) shows up as a slimy ambulance chasing attorney…and it isn’t funny. That alone should explain why this movie fails.