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“Extract” {Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Miramax Home Video
Genre:
Comedy
Release Date:
12/22/09
Special Features:

“Mike Judge’s Secret Recipe”, deleted & extended scenes, theatrical trailer

Review:

Mike Judge found the pulse of our work place nation with “Office Space” his first feature film. Judge the creator of “Beavis and Butthead” and “King of the Hill” two funny TV animated comedies (the former originally designed to “present” and make fun of the MTV music videos of the time while the latter truly became the only show to exceed the comedic grasp of “The Simpsons” without making its characters complete buffoons) has had a difficult time following up “Office Space” his box office flop but critically acclaimed cult classic. ***

“Extract” finds Judge building on “Office Space” without aping it; the owner of a flavor extract company Joel (Jason Bateman) manages his business with almost as haphazardly as his personal life; his wife Suzie (Kirsten Wig) has lost interest in their marriage and Joel finds himself tempted by a new employee Cindy (Mila Kunis) particularly after a plan to rekindle the spark in his marriage suggested by drinking buddy Dean (Ben Affleck) goes awry. He also faces losing his company when one of his employees (Clifton Collins Jr.) loses a testicle in a work related accident. ***

As with “Office Space” Judge manages to capture the drudgery of manufacturing jobs and often the absurd situations that employees and management find themselves in the position of. While there was much to like about the futuristic satire “Idiocracy” it’s clear that Judge was out of his element at something of a loss trying to imagine the futuristic “common” people in that film. “Idocracy” also drifted into flatfooted political satire something that Judge has done far more effectively in his smaller, more “realistic” films when portraying slice-of-life America. ***

Filled with sharp performances, deft writing and direction “Extract” has the wonderful smell of a well mixed comedic satire with just enough touch of drama to make it resonate. Bateman continues to be the perfect “everyman” in film and television and it’s a pity that there aren’t more film projects focusing on his befuddled type of characterizations. He has inherited Jimmy Stewart’s deft comedic touch and brings just the right flavor to “Extract” making it a memorable comedy. ---

Image & Sound:

“Extract” captures the flavor of the theatrical presentation of the film (an ideal one I should note) with a crisp, colorful image. Blacks are solid throughout although detail is a bit ill-defined at times (particularly during darker sequences), on the whole the film looks quite nice with excellent detail particularly in the scenes set outdoors. ***

The audio sounds marvelous with a mix 5.1 DTD-HD mix that captures all of the activity of the warehouse in wonderful rich, detailed sound. Scenes outside of the factory tend to fall back into a standard flat presentation with the front and center speakers getting most of the work out.

Special Features:

“Mike Judge’s Secret Recipe” is a slightly bizarre featurette focusing on the behind-the-scenes production of the film. ***

We also get a brief deleted scene and extended scenes featuring off-the-cuff jokes that add nothing to the film. The theatrical trailer rounds out the meager extras. Why there isn’t a commentary track is beyond me.

Final Words:

Overall, “Extract” is a sharp comedy. Although Judge does miscalculate with his screenplay and direction regarding a couple of things (including a couple of characters that are little more than plot devices to drive the story forward), “Extract” delivers on much of the promise of “Office Space” suggesting that Judge remains a talent o watch. Recommended.

 

 
 
 
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