Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Extract (2009)

Movie quotes:
Dean: Look, you know what you need to do?
Joel: I don’t need any more drugs.
Dean: Dude, I know I kid about a lot, and I’m a little bit of a character, but I’m serious right now. This is real advice, okay? So I want you to listen to me. You should try smoking a little pot.
Joel: That’s a drug.
Dean: It’s not a drug. It’s a flower.

At a glance:
It’s a match made in heaven: Mike Judge (Office Space) and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) team up to provide a tale that is high on quirkiness and perhaps a bit low on laugh-out-loud moments

Our review (with spoilers):
If you are familiar with the television series Arrested Development, then you already know that there is no one better for playing the sarcastic straight man to a parade of quirky sidekicks than Jason Bateman. Here, Bateman is Joel, the struggling owner of a profit-challenged factory staffed by quirky characters. When they are not bickering or accusing each other of theft, they produce concentrated fruit and nut extracts. Although Joel has plenty of problems involving the business, probably his most pressing issue is his ongoing sexless marriage, and a possible solution: his new-found attraction to Cindy (Mila Kunis), a young woman who is enamored with him but perhaps has ulterior motives.

The funniest scenes involve the byplay between Joel and Dean (Ben Affleck). Affleck shows his comedic talents playing a new-age druggie bartender, and Bateman, in these scenes, is closest to the hilarious role he played on Arrested Development, where he would team up with eccentric characters and respond to every line with a comeback of his own. But most of the other supposed humorous moments in the film are jokes about promiscuity. Most of these jokes are not that funny, and although the cast of characters are quirky, they don’t elicit laughs.

Writer/director Mike Judge achieved tremendous cult success with his little film called Office Space back in 1991. Office Space probably had broader appeal because it focused on the downtrodden office workers, whereas the ‘hero’ here is in management.

Rating:  2.75 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Smart and affable, but not laugh-out-loud funny. A comedy shouldn't be as grounded as this. Since it's coming from Mike Judge, you expect it to fly."
- Christopher Smith (Bangor Daily News [Maine])

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