Guest Author - Secola Edwards
Extract Movie Review
Directed by: Mike Judge
Theatrical Release: September 4, 2009
DVD release: December 22, 2009
When I'm in a grocery store, I rarely take the time to think about how everyday products are manufactured. So, I was immediately drawn to the movie Extract just by virtue of its title and the synopsis on the back of my cover of my dvd case. A movie about an extract company owner and the drama surrounding his life was a premise I had not heard of. I was further intrigued because it's written and directed by Mike Judge, whose on-screen credits include the cult classic, Office Space and that American Institution, Beavis and Butthead. It also stars one of my favorite actors, Jason Bateman.
Extract is the story of Joel Reynolds (Bateman), the straight-laced owner of Reynolds Extracts, a maufacturing company which produces all flavors of extract. Joel's seemingly charmed life begins to unravel almost immediately at the film's open. His well-run company is struck with a tragic freak accident, and, as a result he faces a possible multi-million dollar lawsuit.
Adding insult to injury are Joel's employees. One is a beautiful con artist Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Friends With Benefits), who has a penchant for stealing. Joel also has to deal with several other employees who are entitled whiners. He is considering selling the company and word spreads throughout the plant. Joel's plans may become thwarted if his suitors get word that his workers are making threats and hastily drawing up ill-conceived plans of their own.
At home, Joel's wife, Suzie, (Kristen Wiig) is less than affectionate, so much so that he has to strategically plan the end of his work day by playing 'beat the clock' - if he doesn't make it home before her favorite television show airs, any chance of romance is nil. Joel's marital problems are further exascerbated by Brad (Dustin Milligan), the young, very studly man he hires to clean the pool at his home. Brad immediately gets Suzie's attention. Get the picture?
So, where does Joel turn for comfort and a listening ear? Unfortunately, that role is filled by Dean, who is played by Ben Affleck. It's a role which highlights Affleck's surprisingly superb comedic talent. Dean is Joel's best friend and confidant. Dean is also a stoner with a skewed view of the world and, Joel, in a weak, altered state of mind follows the worst, albeit extremely funny advice Dean could have possibly given. Following Dean's advice leads Joel into one quandary after another. How will Joel work it all out? Not without a lot of drama, for sure.
Extract is one of those finds you stumble upon while browsing for smart comedy. It was not a success at the box office, but should have been. The writing and ensemble cast, which also includes David Koechner (Anchorman, Waiting) and J.K. Simmons (Spiderman trilogy), are first-rate. Jason Bateman is one of Hollywood's most underrated comedic actors. Play close attention to the timing between he and Affleck, you'll be laughing non-stop.
*I purchased the Extract DVD with my personal funds.
Get Extract today on DVD!