Mike Judge, the director of the quintessential workplace comedy Office Space, does it again with Extract.
The arrival of a cute, flirty con artist (Mila Kunis, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) causes both professional and personal problems for Joel (Jason Bateman, Juno), the owner of an extract manufacturing plant.
She manipulates the victim of a workplace injury to sue the company, and Joel, who would like to have an affair with her, brings his wife’s faithfulness into question to justify his own actions.
Things we liked about the movie:
1. Extract assembles a pretty top-notch group of comic character actors. There’s the adorable Kunis, the reliably hilarious J.K. Simmons (Burn After Reading), the wonderful Kristin Wiig (Saturday Night Live), and quite possibly the only performance from David Koechner (Anchorman) that we’ve actually found funny. And that’s not to mention the welcome, hilarious dose of a bearded, shaggy-haired Ben Affleck. That’s right, Ben Affleck.
2. Like Office Space, Extract will be justifiably remembered for some excellent, quirky, quotable dialogue.
3. The use of mood music was taken to another level in Extract to become a joke all its own.
Things we disliked about the movie:
1. Despite being played by Jason Bateman (Juno), Joel just isn’t a terribly sympathetic character. It’s hard to like a rich workaholic who is trying to cheat on his wife and whose main strategy of problem solving is to leave the room.
2. The story isn’t nearly as focused as it should be. There are many different strands wafting through the movie – Joel’s marriage, a pending lawsuit, Cindy’s con games – but nothing draws them together in any way. By the end of the movie, it’s just a bunch of stuff that happened once.
Like Judge’s other movies, Extract has had a soft opening at the box office. But it has the makings of a cult classic that will grow in popularity over time.