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Miramax Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 12/22/2009
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/20/2009
The career-arc of Mike Judge is interesting. His first garnered attention -- some positive, some negative -- for the MTV program Beavis & Butt-head. From there, he continued in animation with King of the Hill. Once this was off the ground, he made his feature film debut by writing and directingOffice Space. This film didn't do much upon its initial release, but it's since become a cult classic. It would be seven years before Judge released another movie, and it was the instantly forgettable Idiocracy. Now, Judge brings us a new movie, Extract. Judge may be the epitome of the law of diminishing returns.
Jason Bateman stars in Extract as Joel Reynolds, the owner and operator of a food extracts plant. When we meet Joel, it seems that no facet of his life is going as he'd planned. He and his wife, Suzie (Kristen Wiig), rarely have sex and Joel knows that if she's wearing sweatpants when he gets home, there's no chance of intimacy. His neighbor, Nathan (David Koechner), is constantly bugging Joel and never knows when to stop talking. At work, the assembly line workers are constantly arguing and the proper amount of work never gets done. Joel's best friend, Dean (Ben Affleck), is a bartender who constantly gives bad advice. The only bright spot in Joel's life is the fact that a big company may want to buy the factory. When a new worker, Cindy (Mila Kunis), comes to work at the plant, Joel finds himself attracted to her. Little does he know that she's a con artist who is about make Joel's life a mess.
Looking at the film from the outside, Extract looks as if it could be a winner. The cast is full of talented and popular actors, and I didn't even mention J.K. Simmons. And the prospect of Judge returning to the workplace, which had delivered some good material in Office Space, seems promising. And Judge would have surely learned from the debacle which was Idiocracy -- a movie which wasn't very good and sat on the shelf for a while --, right. So, what a surprise that Extract is such a bad movie.
No, bad isn't the right word. Extract is a pointless movie. Rarely have I seen a movie, outside of the films on Mystery Science Theater 3000, where storylines began and then had no real ending. The movie sets up lots of characters and ideas, most of which simply fizzle out before the conclusion. The film opens on fairly solid footing and everything makes sense. We meet the characters, learn the situations, and the movie takes off. Well, it sort of takes off -- Extract's pacing is bit slack in the beginning, but we assume that it will pick up as it goes along.
But, it never does. There's a difference between suspense and waiting for something to happen. And while this is not a suspense film per se, we sit and wait for something to happen. We watch Joel run around some situation to situation, growing more exasperated, but it's like nothing is every happening. Situations are created, something bad happening at the extract plant, Joel tries to see exactly where his marriage stands, and it all amounts to nothing. As noted above, it's all tied to the fact that the stories don't go anywhere. The biggest issue is the subplot concerning Cindy. The movie goes out of its way to set her up as a con artist and someone who could potentially destroy Joel and then suddenly she's gone. The subplot concerning the gigolo should create a great deal of tension and it doesn't go anywhere. Even the very ending -- "We should take one car" -- doesn't make any sense.
After watching a movie, there will often be some wiseguy who says, "Well, that's 2 hours that I'll never get back." As a film-lover, I rarely share this sentiment, but I have to admit that this idea crossed my mind after watching Extract. Outside of J.K. Simmons and Ben Affleck, there is nothing appealing about this movie. The story goes nowhere, the actors seem to be sleepwalking through their performances, and worst of all, the movie is never funny. Judge has demonstrated himself to be very anti-establishment in the past, it looks like he's now become anti-entertainment.
Extract is poured onto Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Miramax Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 22 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing essentially no grain and no defects from the source material. Judge has chosen to shoot the film in a very natural style, and this gives the image a "picture perfect" clarity. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture shows a very nice level of detail and the depth is nice in certain shots. The Disc holds a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good. This is especially noteworthy in the plant scenes. These scenes also provide some nice surround sound effects. The accident scene has some subwoofer effects. Being a comedy, there aren't a ton of "gee whiz" audio effects, but for the film, the audio fits just fine.
The Extract Blu-ray Disc contains only three extras. "Mike Judge's Secret Recipe" (11 minutes) is a making-of featurette which contains comments from Judge as well as the cast. There is also a nice amount of on-set footage. The speakers talk about their characters, the work environment, the story, and their fellow actors. The Disc contain five EXTENDED SCENES which run about 4 minutes. While this runs about 4 minutes total, there's only about 1 minute of actual new footage here. The final extra is a DELETED SCENE which runs 37 seconds. Obviously, this is brief, but at least it's a scene with Ben Affleck.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long