Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig
Director: Mike Judge
Running Time: 92 mins
Extract is an American film about a factory manager who find himself in deep personal and professional crisis as he struggles with his marriage and fails to keep order of his employees.
I thought that this was a pretty fun film. Although it may not have a story that’s full of the most enthralling characters or thrilling drama, it’s a good Hollywood comedy complete with funny gags and entertaining hijinks throughout, furthered by an energetic collection of A-listers that make the film an easy-going joy to watch.
Extract belongs to a genre of Hollywood comedies that, in all honesty, don’t feel all that different from one another. Whether it’s something starring Will Ferrell or Ben Stiller or Seth Rogen or Jason Bateman, the general atmosphere of the film is pretty much the same, but that doesn’t mean that things can’t be fun anyway.
Although I can’t say that this film wins any prizes for intriguing characters, I do think that it does a good job at making a collection of zany characters as grounded in reality as possible, meaning it’s far easier to sympathise with their situation, and laugh along with the various mishaps they get into.
With the exception of the obnoxious and cartoonish group of factory workers that really aren’t as funny as the film thinks they are, many of the leads, particularly Jason Bateman’s character, aren’t all that bad. In fact, Bateman’s character has that combination of the frustrated middle-aged man and a more comical buffoon, meaning that there’s ample opportunity for a character that you can both relate to and like as well as laugh at.
It’s a fine line, but watching the man struggling to keep a hold on himself as he’s duped by all manner of crafty personalities, getting frustrated by his fading marriage, and desperately trying to avoid his irritating neighbour, is great fun throughout, and sets up for the perfect sort of situation in which we can enjoy some good, down-to-earth Hollywood comedy with a dash of silly, cartoonish slapstick as well.
That’s what I liked most about the comedy in Extract. On the whole, it may not be the most intelligent, but it’s a good blend between ridiculous humour and comedy that’s a lot more believable and pleasant to watch. Again, with the exception of those stupid employees, the majority of the gags here have a tinge of real-world black humour and/or satire that make a world of difference in terms of how much they can make you laugh, something I was really glad to see.
Finally, I thought the performances here were pretty good too. Bateman is great fun to watch in the lead role, and easily owns the whole film, but some supporting players like J.K. Simmons, Ben Affleck and Mila Kunis are just as entertaining in slightly more cartoonish roles that, although don’t feature all that much depth, are full of opportunity for some fun hijinks and mishaps, which all of the actors pull off very well.
Overall, I had good fun with Extract. Sure, it’s not a wholly original or fiercely intelligent comedy, but it strikes a good balance between clever down-to-earth humour and easy-going slapstick throughout, and thanks to some good performances as well, it’s a pretty fun watch from start to finish, which is why I’m giving it a 7.4.