Dean: Do they really?
If you don’t know the name Mike Judge, you will surely still know the work. Judge’s work is the work of the people, the little guy. From “Office Space” to TV’s “King of the Hill”, Judge has always voiced those who seemingly have none and he has always done it with a simplicity that is far too base level for some but just the right note for others. With his latest ensemble comedy, “Extract”, Judge has, uh, extracted himself from one side of the labor force and taken to the other. You might ask, how can the man who championed for the faceless cubicle schmo suddenly flip sides and give more power to the man? Judge knows though that while he may be the man, he is still a man nonetheless, and that work can be just as funny from the other side.
Jason Bateman plays Joel, the owner of an extract production company – that would be extract in the vanilla or the almond variety, in case that wasn’t clear. He has built the company from the ground up and it has afforded him a lovely house, which he shares with his equally lovely wife, played by the always hilarious Kristen Wiig. His company is on the verge of being bought for a handsome price when the very shaky ground he has been standing on for years finally falls out from underneath him. Regardless of his own personal collapse, Joel must keep his assembly line running even though the people working it are barely working with a full set. The disenfranchised may have been given their day in “Office Space” but in “Extract”, they are the butt of all of Judge’s jokes.
Judge does not judge though. He may be laughing at these hapless folks but his hero is hardly escaping the very same finger pointing. The cast of “Extract” – rounded out by Ben Affleck as Joel’s drug-doin’ buddy and Mila Kunis as the hot girl who gets away with being bad because she’s beautiful – are in on Judge’s jokes the whole time and you will laugh right along with them. You will laugh but Judge will also get you thinking, even if just a little, about why we work. Whether you do it hard or whether you do it barely at all, Judge wants us to ask why we do it period. He isn’t saying that we shouldn’t work, just that we should know what we’re working for. And for that, “Extract” works just fine.
Review by Joseph Bélanger