Extract Falls Flat
Conor Rogers | Thursday, September 10, 2009
The fall is usually an offseason for comedies. Viewers have already seen the smash hits of the summer, and know that they will have something to look forward to for Christmas break. “Extract,” the newest comedy out in theaters, is just living proof that autumn means comedy is on hiatus.
The movie’s advertising campaign was nothing short of strong. The director was Mike Judge, who has previously helmed “Beavis and Butthead,” “Office Space” and “Idiocracy.” One would think that someone with these comedic credentials would be able to provide a few chuckles. One marketing slogan pitched the movie as “The creator of ‘Office Space’ heads back to work.”
As if the big name director wasn’t enough, the movie marketed itself as a cast of all stars. Actors who were no strangers to comedy included Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development,” “Juno”), Kristen Wiig of “SNL” fame, Mila Kunis (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), J.K. Simmons (“Burn After Reading,” “I Love You, Man”) and perhaps most surprisingly of all Ben Affleck.
The premise of the movie is that Joel (Bateman’s character) manages an extract plant and must deal with problems occurring both on the job and in his home. But instead of the crazy antics that the trailers promise, the movie falls short at delivering anything resembling a punch line or gag.
The closest attempt at humor is an accident on the job – a worker having his testicles injured. Mr. Judge seems to be the only one who finds this funny. The rest of us have grown tired of this since “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” As for Joel’s personal problems, these include sexual frustration with his wife, culminating in the hiring of a male prostitute. Viewers will find this bizarre at best and pathetic at worst.
The only dim light at the end of an otherwise dark tunnel comes from Ben Affleck. Mr. Affleck plays a burnout bartender/drug dealer, but by this point in the movie, viewers are already realizing this looks less and less like an office satire.
All in all, “Extract’s” hastily thrown-together plot lines along with its flagrant waste of superb comedic talent make it a movie to be avoided at all costs.