Friday, September 25, 2009


On Sunday I saw Extract, starring Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck.

Writer/director Mike Judge has made me laugh in the past with the cult classic Office Space, and the doomsday comedy Idiocracy. As a fan of his, and just about everyone in the cast, I was greatly anticipating this new flick. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to anticipate.

Bateman plays Joel, a self-made business owner who runs an extract (as in "vanilla") factory. He's in a marriage that no longer sexually satisfies him, and desires an affair with a new temporary employee Cindy (Mila Kunis). However, he loves his wife, so he doesn't want to cheat without having leverage.

In a drunken, horse-tranquilized conversation with his friend/bartender Dean (Affleck), he decides it would be a good idea to hire a jigolo to seduce her so he wouldn't feel guilty consummating with Cindy. She takes the bait and immediately embarks on a passionate affair that lingers long past the "one time" that Joel hired him.

And to make matters worse, there's been an accident at the extract factory that causes their financial future to come into question. There is a con artist in the midst and a snake of a lawyer (played almost too well by Gene Simmons) to take advantage of the situation.

Add to that an annoying neighbor and you have pieces of about ten different movies; some of which are funny, some of which are not.

The standout performance here is undoubtedly Ben Affleck who comfortably resumes his Dazed and Confused stoner-stupor and delivers laughs each time he opens his mouth.

But sadly, despite the other star power, the story falls flat and feels false in too many ways (con artist unbelievable, Joel's marriage not authentic, etc.)

In an effort to prove how rare we intelligent entities are in suburban America, Judge forgot to make the story smart enough.


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