Thursday, April 11, 2013


Extract | A Constantly Racing MindThere is a story here somewhere.

I had no expectations what so ever when I saw this film, going quickly to DVD I don't even remember seeing a trailer for "Extract." From Mike Judge the director of "Office Space," one would be expecting something funny right off the start. What "Extract" delivers is a look into the lives of the all too real characters that he has dreamed up and offered to us. This "tear in your beer" comedy starts appropriately with old time country singer Johnny Paycheck (Take this job and shove it) singing "She's All I Got." The song sets the tone for the rest of the film as it meanders in and out of Joel Reynolds (Jason Bateman) dull and impotent life.

Joel Reynolds, owner of Reynolds "Extract," the company he started from the ground up by taking his grandmothers vanilla recipe and updating it a bit. Married to Suzie (Kristen Wiig), Joel spends his time away from work, drinking beer, and wasting time with his best friend and bartender Dean (Ben Affleck in a wig). Joel's life is as vanilla as the extract that he makes, and apparently, he makes a lot, so much that General Mills is knocking on his door, thinking to buy him out. Joel and junior partner Brian (J.K. Simmons) are seriously considering the notion of having a giant corporation buying them out and escaping the mundane life of a factory. If you have ever worked in a factory, (I have) then you will recognize each one of the stereotypical characters that Mike Judge has hired to run the factory. You have the two old cackling women who have been there forever, the Goth rocker always promoting his band, the redneck floor manager wannabe, and of course the migrant Hispanic worker. To round off the cast of dysfunctional characters (aren't we all a bit dysfunctional are Cindy (Mila Kunis), a lying kleptomaniac, and Nathan (David Koechner), Joel's slow talking, talkative, pushy neighbor. During the usual bickering of his factory workers, an unfortunate accident occurs emasculating Step the redneck floor manager wannabe. Actually, the accident leaves Step (Clifton Collins Jr.) with only one ball hanging by a thread. Cindy the gorgeous criminal drifter seizes on an opportunity into manipulating Step into suing Joel and his company for negligence, placing the sale of the company to General Mills in jeopardy. Cindy takes a job as a temp at the factory and starts a petty crime spree; and of course in stereotypical fashion, every one blames Hector the English impaired Hispanic worker. Of course, the sexually frustrated Joel falls for Cindy and wants to cheat on her, but of course he is a loyal husband and can't bring himself to do it. Complaining daily to his buddy Dean, Joel can't get any satisfaction from his wife Suzie, if he makes it home later than 8pm. Dean, an easy going-devil-may-care, irresponsible, drug pushing, juvenile friend, talks Joel into taking an anti-depressant. Unfortunately, Dean gives Joel a horse pill and enters la la land. Dean talks Joel into hiring a gigolo to seduce his wife, have sex with her, leaving Joel guilt free to consummate an affair with Cindy. Stupid huh? Enter Brad the gigolo, played by Dustin Milligan ("90201"), good looks and puppy-dog eyes are no match for the bored and desperate housewife, Suzie. The movie devolves into a series of uneven scenes, unrealistic plot twists and a cameo appearance from Kiss's Gene Simmons as the ambulance-chasing, testicle slamming shyster attorney.

Filmed in a working water filling factory, in Los Angeles, Mike Judge focuses on creating a real world for his characters. Realism isn't a problem with this film' the characters are too real for me; I know them; and I try to escape from them by going to the movies. The film drags in spots, especially when Joel and Dean are high on pot. I know time slows down when you are high, but the scenes left me looking at my watch and hoping for high to end. The music for "Extract" is good if you enjoy ZZ Top, John Lee Hooker, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the aforementioned Johnny Paycheck. The film has no real (noticeable effects) at least visual effects to speak of, and the photography is adequate for the task of telling the story.

For some people this is a tough movie to watch. You truly have to be in the mood for quiet comedies to sit through this film. I would say it’s a cute film but hardly worth spending an hour and a half getting to know the characters and riding out the story. There are a few laughs but not enough to justify the time. Now if you are a Ben Affleck or a Jason Bateman fan, or a masochist, go right a head and rent the DVD, or better yet, check it out from your neighborhood library.

Movie Data

Genre:   Comedy, Romance
Year:   2009
Staring: Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Clifton Collins Jr., David Koechner, Dustin Milligan
Director: Mike Judge
Producer(s)  John Altschuler, Michael Rotenberg
Writer: Mike Judge
Rating:  R

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