Monday, September 07, 2009

REVIEW: Extract


Year: 2009
Director: Mike Judge
Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons
Distributor: Miramax Films
MPAA: Rated R

Director Mike Judge has been developing Extract for nearly 2 years. After the success of Office Space, Judge has gotten a ton of requests for a sequel. He felt a sequel was alittle too late and something not worth doing because it would have had to live up to alot of expectations. Instead, he decided to write another film that borrows elements from Office Space kind of like spiritual successor in a way. Judge being a big fan of Jason Bateman and had been wanting to work with him, casted him as the lead in this film. Filming began in August 2008 and wrapped up production soon after.

Plot Outline:
Joel (Jason Bateman), the owner of an extract manufacturing plant, constantly finds himself in precarious situations that steadily worsen by the minute. First, his soon-to-be floor manager acquires a serious injury in a machine malfunctioning accident. This subsequently endangers the well being of his company. Second, his personal life doesn't fair much better when he takes the advice from his bartending friend, Dean (Ben Affleck). Dean during a drug-induced brainstorming session suggests how to test his wife's faithfulness. Finally, compounding these catastrophes is new employee Cindy (Mila Kunis), who also happens to be a scam artist intent on milking the company for all its worth. Now, Joel must attempt to piece his company and his marriage back together, all while trying to figure out what he's really after in life.

The films story is decent at best and hardly original. It mirrors very similar to Judge's Office Space, but doesn't pack the same punch as Office Space. This results in a film that just isn't as interesting and fun to watch as Office Space was. The film also seems a bit uneven at times and just not properly edited it to the point where the story progresses smoothly. Their are a few scenes that needed explaining simply because it just didn't seem logical and we the audience, never got that. Extract also tends to drag on alittle longer than it should and never seems to get to the point quick enough. The first half of the film seems normally paced, but the dialogue just tends to drag on in the second half. The characters we get introduced to just aren't as special and memorable as Michael Bolton or Milton Waddams from Office Space. The jokes also aren't as funny as I was expecting them to be. Their slightly slow and aimed more towards much older viewers. I don't know, maybe I'm just use to my raunchy Aaptow type jokes considering that's what we have been getting lately. It also doesn't help that most of the funny dialogue was shown on the films trailer. Thus making them very dull and hardly funny in the actual film. Their are still some funny moments here and their especially when it involves Ben Affleck's character, but this is hardly enough to warrant people spending money to go see this film. The ending was pretty good and seemed to have went in a direction the audience was expecting.

Jason Bateman plays as the owner of Reynolds Extract, Joel. Bateman is always fun to watch because he always exhibits this funny feeling that makes him an excellent choice to be playing as the lead in a comedy. He gives a nice performance as Joel and is a joy to watch on screen. Mila Kunis plays as the sexy scam artist, Cindy. Kunis is literally hot in every film shes appeared in and it ain't different here. Shes simply gorgeous and I tend to like her performance when shes playing the more bad guy type character. She has good chemistry with Bateman making her character very much believable. My only grip is that we don't know much about her character and it really feels like theirs some serious character development missing. Kristen Wiig plays as Joel's wife, Suzie. Now I usually like Kristen Wiig because I tend to find her somewhat amusing at times, but she feels awkwardly cast in this film. Her character doesn't feel well implemented into the story and she hardly has any funny scenes. This role could have easily been played by someone else instead of the talented, yet funny Kristen Wiig. Ben Affleck plays as Joel's bartender friend, Dean. Dean is a funny character and really makes the film much more funnier than it hardly is. Affleck is just fun to watch in a role like this and I think he totally nailed that stoner type friend that Bateman's character very much needed.

The visual look of Extract is simply great. The film being a new release benefits from a more pristine film source. I wasn't able to detect any film grain and everything seemed as buttery smooth as it can be. Colors were nicely balanced and didn't seem oversaturated like most comedies these days are. The film also has a very vibrant look to it. It helps that most of the film is shown during the day resulting in better lighting. Black levels are just as impressive with its solid inky look. Their are a few scenes during the night and not even these suffer from any loss in color definition or contrast. Flesh tones seem natural if not a bit waxy at times. I didn't notice any hint of micro-blocking or scratches. Detail is great, but this was expected considering its a new release. Close up shots show a good amount of clarity and shows almost every pore on the character's faces.

The soundtrack in Extract is just as good as the visual look of the film. Director Mike Judge always seems to put the right music in the right spot in the right movie and that's no different here. The film has a wonderful balance of country music mixed with some rock here and their. The original music done by George S. Clinton and I think he did a pretty good job of keeping the music very grounded and somewhat down to earth. The soundtrack ain't quite as good as the soundtrack in Office Space, but its still good. A film like Extract is not going to benefit from a loud bass, simply because the film doesn't feature anything that would require it. So its no surprise that the bass is pretty weak in this film. Theirs hardly any rumbles and is easily one of the weakest I have seen this whole year. Its not like I was expecting Transformers type of bass usage, but at least something in the similar vein of Office Space.

Extract is a decent forgettable movie that doesn't do anything new to separate it from the other million comedy flicks we have today. The story just isn't as interesting or entertaining like some of Mike Judge's previous work such as Office Space and Beavis and Butt-head Do America. The film feels alittle uneven and tends to drag on during the second half. The jokes are their, but they hardly feel funny especially when you have already seen them in the trailer. The cast is great for the most part. Bateman is excellent as the lead and Affleck gives a funny performance as the drug dealing bartender. The visual look of the the film is excellent with bright colors and great detail. The soundtrack is fun and goes very well with the tone of the film. Extract is far from being the worst comedy of the summer, but the film just never seems to push higher than an decent comedy flick. Its worth a look if your bored and hoping to see something this weekend, but Id probably give it a rental when it hits DVD/Blu Ray this December.

Grade: C-


Mrs. Anderson said...

That sucks since I usually love Mike Judge films

Fletch said...

I feel like I wrote this; I had the exact same sentiments.

Farzan said...

I do too and this is still a decent somewhat funny comedy. Its just not on the same level as Office Space or Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.

Hahaha Fletch, yeah it wasn't special. The trailer was really funny, but essentially ruined the film for me in terms of laughter.

LuckyCricket said...

I thought the film had its moments, not as memorable or as culturally potent as 'Office Space.'

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