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Blu-ray Review: Extract

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Mike Judge has made some really great contributions to the pop culture landscape over the last decade and a half or so. Beavis & Butt-head and King of the Hill are two of the finest animated creations ever to grace television. Office Space remains every bit as relatable, not to mention hilarious, as it was when first released in 1999.

Lately he hasn't seemed able to match those earlier triumphs. Idiocracy (2006) was a nearly unwatchable disaster, understandably released directly to DVD. His latest offering, Extract, is a very minor improvement but ultimately a colossal bore devoid of any particularly good ideas.

Jason Bateman plays Joel, an entrepreneur who developed a way to ensure that the flavor of food extracts doesn't evaporate during cooking. He runs a successful factory that produces a variety of these extracts, which consumes nearly all his time. The excitement has vanished from his marriage, with his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig) seemingly disinterested in maintaining a physical relationship. All Joel wants to do is sell his business for a nice fat profit and retire relatively young.

The plot never gels into anything meaningful. Joel is determined to discover if Suzie has become frigid or if she simply isn't interested in him. He hires a gigolo who, posing as the new pool cleaner, tries to seduce Suzie. Joel sits back and waits for the results, soon regretting his actions. His stoner friend Dean (Ben Affleck) came up with the whole scheme. Once Suzie takes the bait, the whole plan doesn't seem to improve Joel's state of mind.

Meanwhile, a young con artist named Cindy (Mila Kunis) gets hired on at the extract plant in an attempt to capitalize on a recent workplace accident. One of Joel's employees had a particularly serious accident while on the job. Cindy wants to develop a relationship with him so she can take a chunk of his settlement, even though the employee isn't planning initially to sue the company.

Watching Extract I kept asking myself the same question: why should I care about any of these dull characters? The movie takes these two plot lines and clumsily forces them together. Nothing funny happens throughout. None of the characters ever inspire the slightest bit of sympathy. The blame falls squarely on Judge, whose script is a mess. He wastes a good cast, especially Kristen Wiig. Wiig has emerged as a great comic actress on SNL, but the part of Suzie doesn't take advantage of her skills. This part could have been filled by any anonymous actress.

Extract on Blu-ray is not an especially exciting audio/visual experience. The 1080p high definition presentation is more than adequate without being noteworthy in any way. The 5.1 DTS-HD audio is much the same in that it serves its purpose, leaving nothing to complain about. Dialogue is intelligible and crisp, never overpowered by music or effects. In addition there is a French Dolby Digital track. Subtitles are available in English, French, and Spanish.

As for supplements, this is hardly going to please Mike Judge fans, but there aren't many. A handful of deleted and extended scenes are the main attraction. When I finish a movie that feels like a waste of time, usually the last thing I want to do is watch what didn't make the final cut. Occasionally it can be revelatory, but that isn't the case here. "Mike Judge's Secret Recipe" is a short featurette that offers a very fluffy look at the making of the film.

As much potential as it displayed, Extract is a waste of time and talent. Hopefully Mike Judge will soon pull out of this slump because movies like this are practically an insult to the audience.

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About The Other Chad

Hi, I'm Chaz Lipp. An old co-worker of mine thought my name was Chad. Since we had two Chads working there at the time, I was "The Other Chad."
  • zeek d freak

    Although Mike Judge does such a good job keeping a unique feeling to each of his works, you might just find yourself feeling like you’re watching a sequel to Office Space that takes place in a warehouse setting. The two movies are nothing alike, but they do such a good job in bringing out the natural humor in situations that take place in work places all around the country every single day, that it’s hard not to compare them. One of the more amusing bits of the movie was finding out after watching it that they filmed in an actual water bottling factory and that during certain scenes, you can see employees of the company doing their real jobs in the background. That’s how you utilize a limited budget, kids!

    Extract doesn’t try and do too much or get too far ahead of itself. It has its simple story and it tells it in a fitting format, but still has more than enough layers to maintain a solid level of entertainment from start to finish. All of the performances are really wonderful; Batmen does a particularly fantastic job of portraying a feeling of organized chaos. He knows his life is a disaster area and he has no idea how to handle things, but when in the sight of others, he keeps his composure and acts like he has control. Another notably great performance comes from Affleck, who isn’t stupid, but clearly has no intentions of doing more than he has to do. As someone who has always enjoyed the work of Affleck, it’s nice seeing him do something here that even the haters can enjoy and appreciate. Perhaps one of my favorite performances of the film was actually a cameo by the director himself, Mike Judge. It’s naturally not the movie-stealing performance of the decade, but Judge as the random, aged, overweight, and insightful employee amused me to no end. I’m not a King of the Hill fan, but those of you that are will pick plenty of Hank Hill in his words and will likely enjoy this cameo even more than I did. A real review of the film: Geeks of doom

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/the-other-chad/ The Other Chad

    zeek d freak: you are AWESOME! Thanks for pasting in an excerpt from another review of the movie EXTRACTed (get it?) from another website.

    How dare I write a review with a conflicting opinion! What was I thinking?? I’m so ashamed…

    So thanks from the bottom of my shallow, vapid heart for demonstrating why my thoughts do not constitute a “real review.” I’m forever in your debt. (But I still think “Extract” SUCKED.)

  • zeke d freak

    Extract reminds us of how little a damn Hollywood gives for the workplace where most Americans spend their lives. Joel’s employees run the gamut from a clueless rocker (T.J. Miller) to a specialist in whining (Beth Grant). But Judge allows his gifted actors the space to turn caricatures into characters. Bateman excels in all departments. He can play the Everyman without ever making him virtuous or smug. His pothead scene with Affleck is a riot. But jokes are easy compared to the touching joy and gravity Bateman achieves by just showing Joel standing in the middle of the company he created and breathing it in. Judge is in the business of social satire, and his laughs can sting, but his movie is a comic salute to free enterprise. And, boy, do we need it now. –Rolling Stone

    These EXCERPTS reflect my opinion…They help me speak my mind CLEARLY. Did not mean for you to get all bummed chad. Extract is a killer movie. And these EXCERPTS help me set the tone for a debate with u. Chad. And perhaps others. When u r writing a blog, and put yourself out there…you gotta expect you’ll hear from those who disagree w/ u. Just cuz my style is different, does not make me a bad bloke. the forum opens itself 2 debate, not a monologue. get it? Zeke

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/the-other-chad/ The Other Chad

    Don’t sweat it Zeke (or is it Zeek?) – it takes considerably more to get me “bummed” than a disagreement over a movie.

    Glad you enjoyed “Extract,” and glad you managed to find other people to express your opinion for you. Makes things easy, doesn’t it?

  • zeeeek d freak

    Wow. chad the smarmy rookie. sorry I hurt your feelings. You wrote a bad review. get over it.
    -zeeeeek

  • Iris

    Zeek, I think you need to get over it. Not all reviews are positive you know. I thought Extract sucked.

  • powermachine

    Iris,
    I read the review and could not disagree more with you and the author. Extract was classic. What are you comparing it to? The Hangover?
    I like Mike Judge, he makes movies others are afraid to make. And I think his average budgets are real low/counter typical studio stuff.

    Extract is yet another Judge cult classic. Im 30 years old–You are probably too young to get it.

  • Iris

    Actually powermachine, I am 36 and a big fan of Mike Judge. I don’t think this movie comes anywhere close to Office Space. I thought it was boring and contrived. Nothing to relate to at all.

    I get it. I just didn’t like it. So what?

  • Zeek d freak

    Powermachine they just don’t get classic. Sometimes people turn away frm a film cuz they are uncomfortable w d subject matter-cheating, mid life crisis etc. These bloggers think they could make a better movie. They r insecure. I’ve wasted enough time schooling chad- I mean iris. Posing as a chick. Weak.
    -zeeeeeeekeeeeeee