Maybe if Extract were directed by someone other than Mike Judge, it would be easier to like. It probably would not have hurt either if studio marketing did not plug it as the next Office Space when it is clearly the furthest thing from it.
Those are a quick two strikes against the film, as it is nowhere near the level of Office Space, or even in the ballpark of other Mike Judge efforts. This is a flat out dull film, one with hardly a laugh contained within.
In fact, without David Koechner playing the annoying neighbor Nathan, Extract would be completely devoid of humor. Maybe comparing it to Judge’s previous works is not fair, but when the studio thought this was the proper way to promote it, there must be something behind that.
The plot concerns Joel (Jason Bateman) who owns a small factory that sells food extracts. That is one segment of this disjointed story. Here, supposedly quirky but not really quirky employees fight about their jobs and who is not pulling their weight.
The second section of this story concerns Joel hiring a male gigolo (Kriisten Wiig) to seduce his wife to see if she would cheat on him. Their broken marriage is not particularly funny past the first half hour.
A lawsuit involving an injured worker and his missing testicles is plot thread number three, one this script pushes aggressively, if only to allow for a series of gags based around how many variations there are on “balls.” For the record, it is a lot.
There is Ben Affleck playing a stoner, Mila Kunis playing a smalltime thief, and J.K. Simmons… well, he does something beyond pop in to tell Joel stuff from time to time, even if the movie never actually makes it clear what that is.
Extract completely lacks a central story, coming off as a mish-mash of ideas. It was 10-years since Office Space when Extract landed in theaters, so maybe this film turned into everything Judge had wanted over a decade of thought. It sure feels like it. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
Unnatural is the immediate reaction to this transfer, with orange flesh tones and digital appearance. This was shot on film, but aside from the grain, you would have a tough time knowing that. In fact, even the grain causes some problems, breaking down into some artifacting against the solid walls of Jole’s office, readily apparent at 21:10.
Faces appear as solid pits of color instead of defined textures. The radiating color does not help either, along with some red push inside the bar. Long shots are soft, delivering minimal detail of the factory floor or outdoor environments. Black levels, at the least, are consistent, delivering substantial depth to the image.
Colors lighten up into cooler tones around the final half-hour, although this AVC encode still carries that digital quality. Nothing is particularly well defined here, from hair to clothing to the environments. This is likely the intentional look of the digital intermediate phase as it would take some doing to screw up a transfer this badly. It is quite off-putting regardless, and it hard to place this amongst other discs that provide such lush, detailed affairs. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
Like the movie itself, this is a drab, somewhat lifeless DTS-HD mix. The score is subdued and never particularly forceful. Even when it picks up, it remains firmly planted in the stereo channels, although it carries a crisp level of fidelity.
Some light ambiance on the factory floor, including clanging bottles and various motors, is nicely handled. Dialogue is prioritized firmly in this track, keeping it audible under all circumstances. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
Mike Judge’s Secret Recipe is the first of the extras, as miniscule as they are. This is your typical making of, focusing on the factory, inspirations, and actors. It runs just shy of 11-minutes.
Five extended scenes last 4:29, followed by a sole deleted scene at 37-seconds. Trailers remain. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]