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Add “Extract” To The Most Disappointing Of 2009

"Extract"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.

The Keanu

The Keanu

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.

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  1. mcarteratthemovies
    September 22, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    I’m not sure I’d agree that “Extract” deserves to be called one of the biggest disappointments of 2009 — more like Mike Judge’s most disappointing film. It has none of the bite that made “Office Space” and “Idiocracy” so acidly funny, but there are good points about the movie. There’s more character development and strong acting, particularly from Clifton Collins Jr. and Ben Affleck.

    And people keep making such a big deal about the “happy ending.” If you look back at Judge’s other movies, you’ll see they all had happy endings. Judge is a complete softy for Average Joe; he’s always wanted him to get what he wants. “Extract” just goes about achieving that in a less mean-spirited way.

    But Gene Simmons? Dear God, retire that guy already. I don’t know what’s scarier: his total lack of talent or his face without the makeup.

    • September 23, 2009 at 8:16 PM

      I agree about Gene Simmons. He was terrifying. He could have done the greatest stand-up routine ever & all I would have noticed is his jacked up face.

  2. June 4, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    It may not stand up to the team written comedies of the day but in it’s simpler way Extract is an original imprint of a solid writer/director. I thought Judge did by paying some mind to each avenue of the life of Bateman’s character. In the end it was Bateman whom we were orbiting.

    You are right, Judge is not of the new school, but his alma-matter is refreshingly different and I will continue to watch his movies as they come out every 3-4 years.

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