Extract Barely Worth Seeing

Sean Buckhorn

For anyone hoping Mike Judge could conjure up more red-stapler, case-of-the-Mondays magic, you will be sorely disappointed. Judge’s latest effort, “Extract,” falls way short of its hilarious predecessor, “Office Space,” mainly due to plot issues and several poor performances.
“Extract” marks the return of writer/director Judge to the world of the working-class comedy, a field in which he excelled with 1999’s “Office Space.” Jason Bateman plays Joel Reynold, the owner of a flavor extract company. Distraught with his mundane marriage and lusting after the beautiful new temp at the factory (Mila Kunis), Joel turns to his slacker friend (Ben Affleck) for advice. From here, the plot unravels.

The plot is slow from the very beginning, and never picks up–– the film never really reaches a climax, and the audience leaves the theater dissatisfied. In addition, several loose plot strands are never tied up, or are hastily finished with a quick one-liner.

While “Office Space” gave us a host of memorable, funny characters (Michael Bolton, Lawrence, Bill Lumbergh, among others), hardly the same can be said about “Extract.” Kristen Wiig and Mila Kunis fall short in their roles as Joel’s philandering wife and the object of Joel’s fancy, Cindy, and Ben Affleck’s performance as the drug-dishing, slacker buddy Dean could best be described as distracting.
The film’s protagonist, Joel, is another story. While the always-tolerable Bateman manages not to ruin Joel, it would have been nice to see him step outside the neurotic, deadpan character he’s played several times before. With the exception of Mark Loring in “Juno”, Bateman has never really taken on a dramatic role, but nevertheless, he’s as likeable as ever.
This is not to say “Extract” is devoid of any good performances, however. Clifton Collins Jr. is perfectly understated in his role as a redneck former employee Step, who is suing the company as a result of a “mid-body” injury suffered at work. While Collins Jr. could have easily twisted Step into Larry the Cable Guy, he opts instead to show the human side of this conflicted character. Dustin Milligan (a thick-headed gigolo) and David Koechner (the Reynold’s nuisance of a neighbor, Nathan) are also good for a few cheap laughs, if nothing else.
Though not on the level of “Office Space,” for fans of Mike Judge, “Extract” is worth seeing or, at the very least, renting on Netflix in a few months time.