Workplace comedy 'Extract' fails to find much fun
"Extract," directed by Mike Judge and starring Jason Bateman, is like the workplace comedy "Office Space." But unlike "Office Space," this workplace isn't very funny, and the characters mostly seem dumb and mean-spirited.
Seattle Times movie critic
"Extract," with Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, J.K. Simmons, David Koechner, Clifton Collins Jr., Gene Simmons, Ben Affleck. Written and directed by Mike Judge. 90 minutes. Rated R for language, sexual references and drug use. Several theaters; see Page 14.
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Some movies have one character you keep waiting for, someone who keeps perking things up. In Mike Judge's "Extract," it's a peripheral character played by the very funny David Koechner: He's Nathan, whose speech patterns are borrowed from Gary Cole's Bill Lumbergh in "Office Space" ("I'm just going to go ahead and ... "), and he's the kind of neighbor who lurks in his yard and races out on unsuspecting prey, trying to get them to buy banquet tickets that are "a little pricey ... but the food is fan-tastic."
Everyone knows a Nathan, just as everyone knew a boss like Lumbergh, and Koechner's scenes are a kick; you start giggling as soon as he appears on screen. Unfortunately, everything else in "Extract" disappoints. Like "Office Space," it's mostly a workplace comedy; unlike "Office Space," the workplace isn't very funny, and the characters mostly seem dumb and mean- spirited.
The usually likable Jason Bateman here plays glum Neil, the owner of a flavorings factory who's unhappy with his distant wife (Kristen Wiig), attracted to a new employee (the Angelina Jolie-ish Mila Kunis), and getting very bad advice from his best friend (a strangely bearded Ben Affleck), who suggests Neil hire a gigolo to seduce his wife so he can then have a guilt-free affair. Meanwhile, an employee suffers what the newspaper euphemistically calls a "mid-body injury" at the plant, and Gene Simmons of Kiss shows up, mysteriously, as an ambulance-chasing lawyer with a hairdo that looks like it could serve as head protection in battle.
"Extract" has its moments, but not enough of them. Think I'll go ahead and watch "Office Space" again.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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