Movie review: Extract

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Writer-director Mike Judge has enjoyed his share of success with Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, but when he makes live-action for the big screen, he just seems born to lose.

Office Space found a cult audience on DVD, but only after being dumped in theaters with little support from its studio, Fox. They didn't even bother to make a poster for Judge's follow-up, Idiocracy, and opened the movie in only seven cities.

Finally, with new distributor Miramax, his latest film Extract is getting trailers, TV ads and a wide release. The problem this time: It's Judge's weakest work to date.

Jason Bateman plays Joel, the head of a flavor extract company who deals with disgruntled employees by day and a wife (Kristen Wiig) who leaves him sexually frustrated by night.

At first, his story appears to set up a satirical view of minimum-wage work and the plight of the small business owner. Once Mila Kunis' beautiful grifter and Joel's chemically adventurous friend Dean (Ben Affleck) enter the scene, the movie loses direction and a sense of purpose.

Judge is still an excellent observational humorist, a guy who knows the pain of dealing with dead-end warehouse jobs, dull neighbors and fusion jazz snobs and can make it funny. He can also put together a great cast (supporting players include not just J.K. Simmons, but Gene Simmons). But as a whole, Extract just doesn't hold up.


Opens Friday

Grade: C+