Plot: What’s it about?
Just a shade over a decade ago I watched the movie “Office Space” for the first time. As time has proven, it’s a cult classic in any sense of the word. Now what made that film work were the memorable characters, the fact that anyone who had worked in “corporate America” and anyone who’s had an airhead boss. As it turns out, that’s pretty much most of us. So ten years later could lightning strike twice? Writer/Director Mike Judge, perhaps best-known for “Beavis and Butthead” and the aforementioned “Office Space” thinks so. The problem is that this doesn’t take place in corporate America, it takes place in a factory. With all due respect to those that are or have worked in a factory, I’m willing to bet it’s a different audience that those who might watch “Office Space”. Then again, maybe not – it’s only speculation on my part. All comparisons aside, “Extract” should stand on its own and with another ensemble cast, all the right elements were in place.
Joel (Jason Bateman) has found a way to take the extract of vanilla, mint and root beer (amongst other things) and has built a very successful company that specializes in said product. He drives a nice BMW, has a beautiful house in the suburbs and an attractive wife (Kristen Wiig). So with all of this, what could possibly go wrong? Well if he doesn’t make it home by 8:00 the wife cinches up her sweatpants meaning that there’ll be no time for “love” that night and with an accident at his factory, an employee by the name of Step (Clifton Collins Jr.) just might hire a lawyer and take the factory for all its worth. Add to this the beautiful con artist, Cindy (Mila Kunis) and things aren’t exactly shaping up the way Joel sees them. Joel and Suzie (Wiig) also have to contend with their over-anxious neighbor, Nathan (David Koechner) who seemingly won’t take “No” for an answer, about anything. Lastly Joel’s lifelong friend, Dean (Ben Affleck) has suggested that he hire a gigolo (Dustin Milligan) to test Joel’s wife’s fidelity. Things are a mess for Joel and it’ll take an act of God to clear them up. Such is “Extract”.
“Extract” wasn’t a bad movie by any means, but those expecting it to be another “Office Space” will be sorely disappointed. Even Judge’s last film “Idiocracy” wasn’t comparable. The cast is great in “Extract” with Ben Affleck stealing the show as Bateman’s deadbeat bartender friend. As I mentioned earlier, perhaps if I’d worked in a factory at some point in my life, I might be able to relate a bit better to the film but I haven’t. Bateman does manage to bring a very calming presence to the role as he does to pretty much any role. In many ways his character here was fairly similar to the one he played on “Arrested Development”. What really seemed to bring the movie down a bit was the lack of cohesion in the plot. There were three different plot lines and they didn’t really do a good job of intersecting them. Still, there are some good performances here and there and though this isn’t a bad movie, I don’t think I’ll give it too many repeated viewings. Fans of Judge will want to watch this just…because, but everyone else might do better to pass.
Video: How does it look?
“Extract” exudes everything we look for in a new to Blu-ray release. Disney’s 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer looks nice right off the bat and really never lets go. Colors are strong and bold and a majority of the movie takes place in daylight hours, so we get a much warmer feeling when watching the movie. Flesh tones seem on the mark and I caught no evidence of any artifacting in the least. Detail is on par with other Blu-ray releases, black levels are on the mark as is the contrast. There’s really nothing wrong with this transfer, except maybe a few scenes where it’s a bit too bright. Aside from that, though, viewers should be happy with the way this looks.
Audio: How does it sound?
Most comedies aren’t too heavy on the audio and this holds true for “Extract” which sports a DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, but I feel that it falls short of what it’s capable of. The majority of the movie is dialogue-driven and with that in mind, the vocals are warm and natural throughout. I caught a few instances of surrounds coming into play (the accident at the factory utilizes these with great effect), but there’s really nothing that stands out as being too terribly terrific.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Perhaps Disney knew that “Extract” was no “Office Space” and as such, we don’t really have a great deal of supplements here. There are a quartet of extended scenes (with some subtext telling which parts were extended and which weren’t), a single deleted scene and a ten minute featurette with some interviews with the cast and crew as they all praise Mike Judge.