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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Extract’ leaves odd aftertaste

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    Anyone expecting another “”Office Space”” from Mike Judge’s new movie, “”Extract,”” will most likely leave the theater disappointed. But if you’ve watched “”King of the Hill”” before, then you might not be as disappointed.

    We follow Joel (Jason Bateman), the owner of a flavor extract plant, who is about to sell his company to General Mills and retire. He certainly has good reasons to sell: his company is stocked with employees who are prejudiced, clueless and somewhat incompetent.

    But his home situation isn’t much better. He hasn’t had sex with his work-at-home wife, Suzie (Kristen Wiig), in more than a month. He must get home before 8 p.m. or she’ll put on the sweatpants and close up shop. Enter Cindy (Mila Kunis), a con artist whose plans to take advantage of a wincingly painful workplace accident experienced by Chip (Clifton Collins Jr.) kick off the main story.

    As in “”Office Space,”” Judge hits the right tone of the mundane and the weird at the workplace.

    But whereas bachelorhood was a major component in that movie, marriage is the focus in “”Extract.”” Judge’s dialogue is often sharp and can be full of dizzying mix-ups — Joel’s explaining his plan of infidelity to Suzie is an excellent example, as are the conversations between Joel and Dean (Ben Affleck). Bateman brings a pitch-perfect performance as he runs from one problem to another.

    Like most relationships, not everything in “”Extract”” goes well. The main problem with the movie is that Judge populates it with side characters that are handled by talented comedy actors who only have one note to riff off of. As a result, their characters often serve as little more than prop pieces or as markers to the next plot point.

    It’s a shame, because there are some fun performances: Affleck as easygoing, drug-infused, New Age love guru Dean; Gene Simmons as the obnoxious and petty lawyer Joe Adler; and Matt Schulze as Willie, a Black Flag-era, Henry Rollins type who loves his man-sized bong.

    Judge offers more of his mundane absurdity in his new movie but without more complexity to his characters, “”Extract”” ends up tasting a little flat.

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