Sunday, September 06, 2009
Movie Reviews: EXTRACT
Joel, played by Jason Bateman ("Juno," "Arrested Development"), is one step away from selling his flavor extract factory and retiring to easy street when a freak workplace accident sets in motion a series of disasters that puts his business and personal life in jeopardy.
Cast: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Ben Affleck, Kristen Wiig, Clifton Collins, Jr., J.K. Simmons
Director: Mike Judge
Opened September 4, 2009..
Runtime: 1 hr. 30 min.
Rated R for language, sexual references and some drug use
Genres: Comedy, Workplace Comedy
Mike Judge’s 3rd film is an effective but unfocused effort that delivers plenty of laughs yet it leaves you feeling there could have been more. Judge returns to the mundane drudgery of the work place, which he wonderfully skewered in cult favorite Office Space, taking the management perspective this go around. His script is peppered with plenty of funny insights into America’s upper middle class making the laughs feel authentic and never contrived. Judge has always shown great talent as a writer as anyone who’s watched his terribly underrated King of the Hill and his criminally overlooked satire Idiocracy. His talent as a director isn’t quite as strong. His films have always had an unfocused meandering feel and Extract is no different. His direction makes you feel like you’re wandering through the story making you wonder where the story is going. It creates an odd feel for the film that makes it feel longer than its actual runtime. It’s not a fatal detriment mainly because Judge populates his film with fun characters played by an incredibly capable comedic cast. Jason Bateman plays his role perfectly and anyone who’s watched Arrested Development knows what to expect. He’s perfected his straight man routine and this role is tailor made for him. Ben Affleck as Joel’s best friend is great fun and he really seems to enjoy himself in this role. Affleck and Bateman’s interactions are some of the movies high points punctuated with a bong hit for the ages. The remaining cast members shine but not as much as they should considering the talent assembled. Kristin Wiig and Mila Kunis respective roles feel underwritten and don’t really give either actress a chance to shine. JK Simmons and David Koechner are giving running gags that are hit or miss in terms of effectiveness. Once the slightly abrupt finale hits you can help but feel charmed by Judge’s type of humor but it does feel like he could have hit a real homerun if he’d used his cast to its fullest potential.