Saturday, September 05, 2009

"Extract" (2009) - Movie Review

Mike Judge’s “Extract” treats its people in the film to their roots of their misery and flowers funniness. We do not feel anything at all for the characters and Judge succeeds in making it remorseless too. The people in “Extract” are selfish, betraying, rude, careless and we do not absolutely hate them. We are puzzled how come the Reynold’s Extract run by Joel (Jason Bateman) made it so far.

Been kind of invented the idea retaining root beer extract and other flavours, Joel has built this company from scratch and he has some most possible and prickly employees. But in a production facility with programmed process machines getting guided by humans, they bound to get a little crazy. Such is Mary (Beth Grant) finding reasons why she should protest working and there is Step (Clifton Collins Jr.) bragging his casing skills of the extract bottles and getting authoritative on becoming the floor manager. Judge introduces many other characters and gives them their traits and props bringing his sense of comedy.

Joel’s sex life is going nowhere with his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig) who has become the victim of house wife-reality tv-boredom-no attention syndrome. Joel’s solace is a bar in a hotel where his friend Dean (Ben Affleck) gives all the wrong advice. Joel has managed to sway away from that right from his high school days with him but with a little drug and right boost from Dean, he not alone kicks off his life replicating his factory process into haywire effect but puts the film in motion. And there Judge strikes gold.

Affleck is surprisingly novel. He in his cave man makeover is smooth and crass adjusting the moral scale in his friend. His ideas are out of the place and are definite destruction schemes but he is persistent and he gets success. There are people, very nice people whose traits are such that. Lighting up a mountain of dry grass, trying to short circuit an outlet in a midnight filled bar and doing an experiment for the heck of it (These are all done by two friends I know of in my life). The thrill is their reason to survive. It is their addiction and people of same category can promote to instigate emotional battle (though mine did not, thankfully). In real life they would get negated and in Judge’s film, they are the catalyst for the plots to unfurl. Such is Dean who accidentally gives a drug and when I say accidentally he gave a horse tranquilizer instead of Xanax to Joel.

To get Joel guilt free of flirting with his new temp Cindy (Mila Kunis) and of course confirming that Joel will not feel bad if Suzie has an affair, Dean hooks Joel up with a Gigolo Brad (Dustin Milligan) and boy is he the greatest moron. The actor playing that shows potential. His slowness in receiving information is not annoying but amuses on how worst he can do as the information to process gets a little deviant like in between is and was.

For a film with an agenda to be the indie funny, “Extract” does not get it all the way through. As the first act shows Cindy stealing with her devious sex appeal and Joel running through his chores of solving worker issues, getting updates from his second in command Brian (J.K. Simmons) who can only remember one nick name at a time and dodging the annoying neighbour (David Koechner) to make it to the eight at night deadline to get Suzie before changing to her sweat pants, it does not do much for us. But when Dean turns the wheels along with an accident doing the perfect funny injury to Step, “Extract” picks itself up.

Judge is the cult creator of the “Office Space” which possibly would have invented the word “spaced out”. He has the gift to read the nerves of the blue collar to white collar employees. This production process of anything gets on to the people and make them into person of something else. And he seriously can make his characters do unsympathetic acts and get away with no morality in his audience. His comedy has a style as Apatow has created. His comedies are crass with a classiness, an absence of emotion in the right parts of the comedy and most of all a balance in making the film which gives the feel of it being done without passion and casual production. But that is where Judge succeeds. “Extract” might not make you roll out of the chair and does not tries to. It simply puts the people and alternate their scale to feel physical and emotional pain to nothing.

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