Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Crushed under the weight of my own self-applied great expectations.  There’s no need to discuss Mike Judge’s film ‘Office Space’ as it is classic in the sense that the word was created just to describe that movie.  Then it took the man a lengthy seven years to follow up ‘Office Space’ but that movie was ‘Idiocracy’.  Was it a classic to level of ‘Office Space’?  No, but it was a gloriously brutal attack on society, probably more so than even ‘Office Space’, while still managing to be one fine film watching experience.  Now three years after ‘Idiocracy’ we have Judge’s latest movie ‘Extract’ which sounds a little like ‘Office Space’ with the added bonus of male / female relationships and starring an actor in Jason Bateman who on his worst day couldn’t let us down.  I’m thinking this is a can’t miss slam dunk right here.  And this is would be why thinking isn’t one of my strong points.


Joel (Bateman) is the owner of a small business that makes flavoring extract.  As with a lot of folks around Joel’s age… I’m there, so I can relate… Joel is wondering what the point of it all is.  His job has become an endless rut which basically consists of twelve hour days trying to control his zoo-like population of employees, his wife Suzie (Kristin Wiig) has shuttered the doors on the poonani and life has generally lost its all of its meaning.


Things take a slight turn for Joel when General Mills seems interested in buying his business, which bring Joel and his general manager Brian (J.K. Simmons) great joy, and also when a new temp shows up in the crazy hot Cindy (Mila Kunis) who seems generally intrigued by Joel and the extract business.  Actually she’s not at all interested as we see from the film first scene that Cindy is simply professional grifter, and is merely working at the plant to find a way to get close to Step (Clifton Collins Jr.), an Extract employee who lost a testicle during a tragic accident at the plant with Cindy looking to bilk the poor dude out of any settlement he might receive.

Nonetheless, especially considering his wife won’t give him any, Joel finds himself drawn to Cindy.  Of course being the good man that he is, Joel would never cheat on his wife… that is unless she did something to move my man that direction.  Thus, with the help of his perpetually stoned good friend Dean (Ben Affleck) they kind of devise a plan to move this concept along, the kind of plan that usually only comes about when one is stoned and drunk.


Eventually, I think, Joel will learn what is important in life.  That being his true love for his whore of a wife, an unshakable loyalty to his disloyal employees, a newfound respect for his testicless employee, the knowledge that no matter what crimes a person commits against humanity, all is forgiven if she’s hot… and that plans made under the influence of drugs and alcohol are never really good plans at all.  Again, I can relate.


So I’m watching ‘Extract’, which in my opinion was not all that bad a movie truth be told, but by the time it was over I couldn’t shake that oppressive feeling of being underwhelmed.  It was almost like watching some kind of National Geographic special on the social interactions of ferrets, with ferrets replaced with frustrated white people.  If you’ve ever seen one those National Geographic specials, you know that they are somewhat entertaining and are even mildly funny at times but are, for the most part, forgettable as you move on to HGTV to watch House Hunters or something.  ‘Extract’ was a lot like watching one of those types of shows because it too was somewhat entertaining and there was the occasional laugh strewn across its running time but it was completely disposable.  While that in of itself is not a problem, I just can’t categorize ‘Office Space’ or ‘Idiocracy’ as disposable which is why ‘Extract’ ended up being such a disappointment for me.


Now as I have said in the past this isn’t necessarily the fault of the filmmakers, because it’s not like Mike Judge hit me up on my cell and told me to have sky high expectations for his next movie… no, I did that all on my own.  But with Mike Judge directing I don’t think it was out of line to expect a movie that was more than marginally entertaining and with a cast that includes such seasoned comic veterans as Bateman, Affleck, Simmons, David Koechner, my homeboy Matt Schulze and Gene Simmons playing a shifty Lawyer type I don’t think it was out of line to expect this movie to have more than just the occasional laugh, but that’s what I got.


All that being said if your expectations aren’t as high as the self-imposed expectations I placed on ‘Extract’, then you may enjoy this film more than I did, a movie which really wasn’t all that bad all things considered.

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