Writer/Director Mike Judge delivers plenty of good-natured laughs and workplace comedy in his latest film, Extract. Judge, who’s known for animated comedies like Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill, found a cult following with his 1999 workplace comedy Office Space.
While not a hit at the box office (it only made $10.8 million), Office Space became a quotable and memorable film that has become a comedy classic over the years. Extract takes a different work environment, a production plant, and creates a world full of odd, zany, and familiar characters. Much like Office Space, there are plenty of workplace antics that ensue, and the one man who helms the lunacy (Jason Bateman), has his own set of problems.
And, sadly, no TPS reports!
For a movie that runs without credits under 90 minutes, there’s a lot going on. Judge expertly crafts the story to get the maximum amount of talent and laughs from each character, and his brand of humor is evident in every scene (which makes sense, doesn’t it?).
Along with Bateman who plays our grounded everyman Joel, the world of Extract is populated with a motley crew that includes: a kleptomaniac drifter (the always sexy Mila Kunis), Joel’s sexually frustrated wife (Kristen Wiig), Joel’s bartending, drug-loving best friend (a very funny Ben Affleck), Joel’s annoying neighbor (David Koechner), Joel’s business partner (J.K. Simmons who also co-starred with Bateman in Juno), and Gene Simmons (yes, the KISS guy) as a ruthless lawyer. Throw in a gigolo and a group of unruly plant workers and you’ve got the ingredients fun!
To me the characters were the highlight of the movie. Each one had their own set of quirks, hang-ups, and issues, which always makes for great comedy when paired with other characters that have opposing wants, needs, and especially problems. (For anyone who wants to write for film or TV, remember that your characters need to be diverse and have different wants in order to create conflict.)
Now, is it a perfect film? No. There are moments where jokes don’t translate, the pacing is a bit off, and other minor issues, but Extract holds its own and Judge and the rest of the cast and crew do a good job blending together the workplace and home life storylines.
The lone special feature on the DVD is Mike Judge’s Secret Recipe Featurette, which give you the rundown on the location, cast, and director of the film. Have you ever seen a featurette for a current film where the cast bashes the director? Or the director talks about what a pain one of the actors were? Well, you won’t find that type of trash-talk here either. If someone knows of a movie where this has happened in the special features, leave a comment and let me know. I’m very curious about this.
If you are a huge fan of Office Space, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts about Extract. If you enjoy workplace comedies, or any of the actors in the film, I recommend Extract for the comedy team Mike Judge has assembled here. And for all those Mike Judge fans, you’ve probably already seen it, but now it’s your chance to see it again and own it! Extract is definitely worth watching.
On DVD and Blu-ray December 22, 2009!