Monday, September 07, 2009
Mike Judge's "Office Space" is a cult comedy classic. The same will not be said for "Extract". While the film has some pretty funny moments, the plot and characters dissipate into the air and don't stay with you very long.
Jason Bateman plays Joel, the owner of an Extract factory and the film is built around his problems at work and at home. Mr. Bateman is a wonderful comic "everyman" but watching him here only made me miss "Arrested Development". Ben Affleck, surprisingly, is the funniest character in the film and when his character disappears for most of the 3rd act, he is sorely missed. All of the factory workers are portrayed as morons or immigrants who have no skills and don't speak the language. It's a wonder the factory runs at all.
Clifton Collins Jr. plays Step, a worker injured in a freak accident. When a beautiful con artist, played by Mila Kunis convinces him to sue, Joel's problems multiply and the plot thickens. There is a funny cameo by Gene Simmons as a bottom feeding lawyer and a subplot about infidelity featuring Kristen Wiig, as Joel's wife Susie. Ms. Wiig is a very funny sketch comic but her character here has very little to do and J.K. Simmons is wasted as another factory manager who keeps popping into Joel's office like a blue collar version of Kramer from "Seinfield".
When the film is funny, it's very funny. Unfortunately it's not funny enough. The bar for Mr. Judge is still set at "Office Space" and fans of that film, if they look carefully, will catch a glimpse of Gary Cole in the background in a bar scene.