Hollywood Product: Extract
Office Space writer/director Mike Judge offers another workplace comedy
GENRE: Workplace comedy
THE PITCH: “Arrested Development’s” Jason Bateman plays Joel, owner of a beverage company called Reynold’s Extract, who juggles a corporate buyout, a personal injury lawsuit, a sexually disinterested wife (Kristen Wiig), a manipulative hottie (Mila Kunis), and the occasional horse tranquilizer. The latest likely cult comedy from writer/director Mike Judge (Office Space, Idiocracy).
MONEY SHOTS: On the bottling floor, a chain reaction of laziness and incompetence results in would-be floor manager Step’s (Clifton Collins Jr.) testicular injury. J.K. Simmons mouths “Oh my God!” at the sight of Kunis’ pulchritude. A dimwitted landscaper-turned-gigolo (Dustin Milligan) offers a soft-focus flashback to a poolside seduction. Joel coughs through a monster bong hit in an attempt to unwind. Wiig snaps and gives a relentlessly gabby neighbor (David Koechner) his just desserts.
FUNNIEST LINE: “Kind of makes you think of how fragile we all are … especially our balls,” reflects Joel following the on-the-job injury.
MOST CHARACTERISTIC LINE: “If they’re not going to do their job, I’m not going to do mine! I’m just gonna sit here!” declares a factory employee whose work ethic is no better than Office Space's white-collar drudges.
MOST UNSETTLING LINE: “My man Brad just crushes ass!” enthuses Joel’s bartender pal (Ben Affleck) about the aspiring gigolo’s sexual prowess.
FASHION STATEMENT: When Joel’s wife knots her gray sweatpants at 8 p.m., it means no sex that night. It’s hairnets on parade on the factory floor.
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Joel conspicuously drives a BMW as a status symbol. Affleck asserts that Xanax is “good for all psychological problems.” A character stays at a Best Western during a marital crisis. Step and his buddy sit around drinking 2-liter bottles of Pepsi, and when they run out, the buddy drawls, “That’s the last Pepsi. Maybe I’ll call Domino’s and have them deliver some Pepsi.” It doesn’t exactly glamorize the soft drink.
STUNT CASTING: No matter how jerky Gene Simmons might be in real life (what kind of guy is mean to “Fresh Air’s” Terry Gross?), he delivers a hilarious, pitch-perfect cameo as a sleazy personal injury lawyer with the most astonishing helmet hair I’ve seen in my life.
THE BOTTOM LINE: In his screenplays, “King of the Hill” creator Mike Judge tends to be kind of half-assed with plot and structure, with Bateman playing a surprisingly petty protagonist. Judge deserves employee of the month for his hilarious dialogue and work with actors, though, and makes Extract nearly as quotable as his previous films. This Extract has fizz.