322. Extract

★★”Extract” would be a really great episode of some Mike Judge network comedy. It has just enough humor devices and wry, blue collar observations to heartily fill 22 minutes but it a second more. If you do stretch that out, you get this tired, repetitive and often off-putting film. Jason Bateman stars as Joel, a mildly successful owner of an extract plant. Joel employs a ragtag group of assembly line misfits who get into mildly amusing shenanigans. One employee loses his testicles in a work accident, and becomes the target of Cindy, a conwoman played by Mila Kunis. Kristen Wiig stars as Joel’s wife, Ben Affleck as his bartending best friend, and J.K. Simmons as his dutiful number one at the plant.Everything that happens is a series of “what if” scenarios extrapolated to their full potential. Some are genuinely funny, like Joel’s smoke sesh with a monster-sized bong. Others are pain-inducing, like an annoying neighbor who always stops Joel’s car, or the long saga of Joel trying to get his wife to cheat on him (yes, you read that right).It’s a weird film, like watching a Frankenstein movie composed of “King of the Hill” and “Office Space” storylines. We laugh but always in a subdued way, aware that the situations onscreen are funny, and that the individuals presenting them have raw comedic talent, but it never connects to anything too meaningful. Perhaps that’s because Judge wasn’t sure how he wanted to present Joel. One can understand the movie and the character better if they see it as an “Office Space” from the boss’s point of view. Still, Joel teeters too much between white collar and blue collar, his message becoming too blended and stained to appreciate.

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