Directed by: Mike Judge
Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristin Wiig, Ben Affleck
Put the director of cult classic Office Space at the helm of a comedy starring Arrested Development’s Jason Bateman, SNL’s Kristin Wiig, Juno’s J.K. Simmons, and Ben Affleck — and it’s a guaranteed howler, right? Wrong.
Mike Judge, famed writer-director has created another workplace comedy in his latest film, Extract. This time the office is a flavoured extract factory owned and operated by Joel Reynolds (Bateman).
The film has two storylines. High on horse tranquilizer, Joel hires a gigolo to have sex with his wife (Wiig) so he will not feel guilty about having an affair with Cindy, the factory temp (Kunis). In the second storyline, the temp takes advantage of the victim of a workplace accident in order to bank on his potential lawsuit earnings. It sounds simple and it is.
Bateman’s character is the sort he always seems to play — the everyman. There is nothing interesting about his pigeonholed character type. Joel is essentially Michael Bluth from Arrested Development, just as Michael Bluth was essentially Mark Loring from Juno. This is the same kind of trap his friend and Arrested Development co-star Michael Cera has fallen into as well — if they can’t find a fresh role soon, they might just dry up.
One of the biggest problems with the story is Wiig’s character, Suzie. In a dreamlike sequence, Joel’s hired gigolo poses as the new pool boy and seduces her. Some kind of twist is expected in this storyline, because nothing makes us believe Suzie would fall for the gigolo. Unpredictability in movies is always welcome, but when it becomes unbelievable the movie doesn’t work.
There are brief moments throughout the film where the all-star comic cast manages successful sketches, but the jokes are often one-note and overlong like the “annoying neighbour” bits with Anchorman’s David Koechner.
While its credentials sound like the ingredients for another comic gem, the movie won’t extract much laughter from audiences. To say it is a disappointment is not enough – Extract is a failure and waste of talent.