Pros: Frequently funny, nails life in a factory. (Stay in School, kids.)
Cons: All characters are far too one dimensional. Plot wanders.
Extract (2009) Directed by Mike Judge
"If you want me to drop this case, I will, right now, if you just step over here, and let me slam your balls in this door." Joe Adler, ambulance chaser.
Joel Reynolds (Jason Bateman) is a man living in suburban hell. He built his flavor extract company from nothing, and now is his own boss, has a great house, and a wife he loves. But he is in that rut where he knows that if he is not home by 8:00pm his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig) will be in sweat pants, her equivalent of a chastity belt. And his work life resembles babysitting more than Wall Street, thanks to the petty problems of his decidedly blue collar crew. But if he thought things were bad before, a freak accident shoots one of his workers, Step (Clifton Collins Jr.) in the testicles.
Ever have one of those days? It only gets worse. Cindy (Mila Kunis) is a sociopathic con artist. And when she sees the combination of a man with no testicles, and a settlement worth millions of dollars...a scheme is born that will bring Joel nothing but grief.
Of course, Joel brings some of it on himself; for instance, he listens to Dean the Bartender (Ben Affleck). Dean's idea for Joel to have a better life is take a Xanax, and nail Cindy. Since Joel can't cheat on his wife, Dean's brilliant plan is to hire a gigolo to seduce Suzie so that he can sleep with Cindy without feeling guilty. Whether it was the Ketamine reacting to the alcohol, or just a few defective brain cells, Joel goes along with it.
What could be worse than being proven right? Trust me, there is something. And from there, Joel's life spirals into a pit of despair as Step sues, Suzie cheats, Cindy schemes, and Dean comes up with ever more ways to effe up Joel's life. And neighbor Nathan just continues in his blind oblivious way, talking without listening.
I think Mike Judge was trying to recreate the magic of his hit Office Space on a lower pay scale, with cubicles replaced with the factory line. And while there are some very funny moments, it lacks the magic of that film.
Jason Bateman is hilarious as the continually in over his head Joel. You ever know one of those people whose main problem is that they are too nice? That's Joel, all over the place. Too nice to stamp his foot at work, too nice to tell Dean and the neighbor Nathan (a hilarious performance by David Koechner) where to get off, too nice to scream when he has cause.
Ben Affleck's Dean has a similar problem. He's too wasted to live. And the male hooker, Brad, (Dustin Milligan) is too stupid to let loose without a keeper. And Gene Simmons as sleazeball lawyer Jim Adler; all he wants is a big settlement, and to slam Joel's balls in a door. I think that is one of the reasons this isn't Office Space, the Blue Collar edition; the characters are too one dimensional.
Another problem is Suzie's affair. Brad may have been cute, but to think she went from setting a sexual pace of four times a year to fifteen times in a week and a half; she either is not worthy of Joel, or poorly written. Sorry, I have to go with the later. And she has no more depth than the rest.
Still, the movie is frequently funny; I mean, it has male hookers, Ketamine accidents, and accidental castrations. Those are potentially hilarious, and Judge works them for all its worth. And Mike aims the humor slightly higher than in Beavis and Butthead or Idiocracy, but it falls short of Office Space, and even King of the Hill.
But you will recognize these characters; you probably have worked with them before. Lord knows that I have.
Like Cindy, this review is Lean-N-Mean at a concise 666 words.