Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Extract is 100% Pure Comedy

Extract is Mike's Judge's third film after Idiocracy and Office Space. Following in the vein of Office Space, it is the natural progression of his work as a filmmaker and as someone who identified so strongly with Office Space as a teenager, Judge was able to tap into that same sense of humor and frustration as he did ten years ago and make a movie that I related to just as well now, working in a management position. While he was fighting the establishment and rallying for the freedom of the working man before, here he gives us a likable man who has worked hard for everything he has, only to see his world unraveled by bickering, lazy employees and a bored wife.

Jason Bateman, as extract creator Joel Reynolds, finds that everything he values is about to be lost to him, until he decides to get off his ass and do something about it. Bateman's dry, straight man delivery, perfected in Arrested Development, is on display as he carries this movie almost single handedly. Not to take away from the rest of the cast as everyone is excellent, but aside from Bateman, everyone else seems like they are barely in the movie. Even the gorgeous and comedically talented Mila Kunis is wonderful, but she has only a handful of scenes. Which, I believe, makes Bateman's performance that much more remarkable seeing as how he gives everyone in the cast so much of himself to work with. From Kristen Wiig as his distant, adulterous wife, J.K. Simmons as his number two man at work and David Koechner as his far too familiar obnoxious neighbor, everyone plays what would normally be very one note roles, very different and they do it all around Bateman. The dude should've popped way before this, AGAIN, but it will probably take audiences awhile to catch up.

Ben Affleck is hilarious as his pusher friend Dean. The Fleck hasn't had this great a supporting role since Boiler Room.

In the same way that you have to had worked in an office to appreciate Office Space, so too do you have to had been in charge of increasingly insipid subordinates, been in a dull, listless relationship with someone you truly care for and made some bad decisions under the influence to understand Extract. Judge's humor comes not from over the top set pieces or irrelevant, gross out gags, but from common situations that occur far to often to not take notice of. The jokes don't come rapidly, but are measured and methodical in delivery. For someone looking for another Apatow/Kev Smith type film, you're likely to be mildly unimpressed. But for fans of Arrested and terrific actors and dialogue, Extract is your best bet for weeks to come. Mike Judge has grown up to find that working for the man is just as maddening as being the man, but just as funny as well.


Maz said...

I will say that this film looked like okay to me. I like Mike Judge but Idocracy left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Granted he was rushed and pushed around on that film so I'll chalk it up to it being a fluke. I will try to see Extract asap!

Big Mike Mendez said...

Nick, trust me when I say this film is far superior to Idiocracy. I thought that movie went for easy jokes instead of using his sharper sense of humor and the one doesn't take that route.

Fletch said...

I guess we're doomed to A2D (the new, annoying acronym for 'agree to disagree' that I've decided to start) on this; the funny thing is that I didn't disagree with anything in your review so much as your comment just above mine - Idiocracy is brilliant, and though it also has its share of physiscal comedy, it's a burning satire that's full of everything from puns to sight gags to just plain fun abdsurdity. It also rings truer and truer as the days pass.

This one was too laid-back, too flatly written, with nothing original to say and no fresh spin on things already said. Of course, like I said, it being a Judge flick, I'm sure I'll watch it time and again on cable. I didn't dislike it, but I was definitely hoping for more.

Oh, and it's his 4th feature counting B & B Do America, though just his 3rd live-action. Minor nitpick there.

Big Mike Mendez said...

Liking the A2d, I think it can catch on.

There are certain directors and certain franchises (Harry Potter) where even a subpar effort is more enjoyable than most other movies, and I agree that Judge falls into that category.

And isn't the Beavis and Butthead movie really just an extended episode?