I saw Extract last night. Now I have to admit that based on the previews I wasn’t terribly impressed with what I saw. However, it does have Mike Judge’s name attached to it and since he has a solid track record (Office Space, King of the Hill, Beavis and Butthead) I had reasonable expectations of being a decent movie. Not only that it had gotten pretty solid reviews (65% on Rotten Tomatoes) and also starred Jason Bateman whom I like a lot (Arrested Development), J. K. Simmons and even Ben Affleck.
Jason Bateman is a good comedy actor and at his best when surrounded by morons, which in this movie he certainly is. Not only that but J.K. Simmons has shown his panache for awkward, dry comedy and Kristin Wiig is usually a hit as well. Even Ben Affleck can be good when used as a supporting character. So in theory this comedy had all the right elements in place for a great hit…and yet somehow, failed to deliver.
I can’t really figure out why though. The plot was solid enough. Jason Bateman plays the owner of a vanilla extract factory who must continually put up with the lunacy of his subordinates. Not only that but his marriage to Kristin Wiig is on the rocks. Enter Mila Kunis, the beautiful new employee who is secretly trying to con them out of their money.
And yet the only ones conned out of their money are the viewers. This movie had a lot of chuckles but never delivered the ROLFMAO moments that we have come to expect from Mike Judge and crew. After looking at all the elements, I can only surmise the reason this movie doesn’t work is simply that the script just isn’t strong enough. Everything else is there. I don’t know, maybe Judge has finally run out of steam, or maybe he is getting old. Who knows?
I liken this story to a big old pile of Dynamite, TNT and other explosives all stacked up to make a great fireworks display. Everything is set, the audience is waiting, Wylie Coyote pushes the handle bar down, the fuse ignites, runs down the line to the detonating charge, the audience holds it’s breath and then poof! The charge is a dud and the whole thing fails to explode.
I will say the babe factor is terribly high with a smokin’ hot Mila Kunis who seduces every guy she comes into contact with but it isn’t enough to save the movie..
In the end the only thing extracted was my money. Okay, I have to confess, I used a controversial free movie pass to see this one, but everyone around me paid full price.
I sadly give this movie 2 Babbles.
One high point, or low point depending on your view, is that I could really, really relate to a lot of the characters in the movie. While I don’t think this movie ever says what city it takes place in, it’s clearly set in Mike Judge’s home state of Texas. I happen to have grown up about 5 minutes from the Dallas suburb that Mike Judge grew up in. (It’s named Garland, where do you think he got Arland from in King of the Hill?)
The accents, personalities and dress is spot on for many people I have known or worked with back in Big D. From the middle aged, big classes, mom jean, T-shirt with kitty cats wearing women on the assembly line to the scruffy necked, tobacco chewing, camouflaged hat wearing hicks, Judge did a great job of capturing the less glorious parts of Texas culture. Makes me remember why I moved to sunny CA.