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Extract (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 13, 2009 by  



Hilarious, smart and outright witty!  “Extract” is an enjoyable dark comedy that Mike Judge fans will definitely enjoy on Blu-ray!

Images courtesy of © 2009 Buena Vista Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Extract

DURATION: 92 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit), French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

RATED: R (For Langugage, Sexual References and Some Drug Use)

COMPANY: Miramax Films

RELEASE DATE: December 22, 2009

Written and Directed by Mike Judge

Executive Producer: Dave Krinsky, Tom Lassally, Glenn Lucas

Co-Executive Producer: Michael Flynn

Producer: John Altschuler, Michael Rotenberg

Line Producer: Bergen Swanson

Music by George S. Clinton

Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt

Edited by Julia Wong

Casting by Venus Kanani, Mary Vernieu

Production Design by Maher Ahmad

Art Direction by Austin Gorg

Set Decoration by Gene Serdena

Costume Design by Alix Friedberg

Starring:

Jason Bateman as joel

Mila Kunis as Cindy

Kristin Wiig as Suzie

Ben Affleck as Dean

J.K. Simmons as Brian

Clifton Collins Jr. as Step

Dustin Milligan as Brad

David Koechner as Nathan

Beth Grant as Mary

T.J. Miller as Rory

Javier Gutierrez as Hector

Lidia Porto as Gabriel

Gene Simmons as Joe Adler

Matt Schulze as Willie

Lamberto Gutierrez as Victor

Brent Briscoe as Phil

Joel Reynolds (Jason Bateman) is sitting pretty. With a beautiful wife, a comfortable home and the almost finalized acquisition by General Mills of the culinary extracts business he has built with his loyal lieutenant Brian (J.K. Simmons), Joel seems to have it all. Except his wife is about as interested in him as she is in her career (supermarket coupon design), his employees want a piece of the pie and the sweet young thing with designs on him (Mila Kunis) is really a wily con-artist. On the advice of a drug-addled confidante (Ben Affleck), Joel cooks up a scheme to cheat with impunity by hiring a gigolo to seduce his wife—only to discover the young object of his affection is behind a lawsuit by long-time employee Step (Clifton Collins, Jr.) that will scotch the General Mills deal and leave Joel penniless. The best-laid plans unravel with hilarious results in this off-the wall comedy about life in the not-so-fast lane.

In 2009, Mike Judge (writer, director and creator of “Office Space”, the animated series “King of the Hill” and “Beavis and Butthead”) returned with a dark comedy titled  “Extract”.

“Extract” focuses on Joel (played by Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”, “Hancock”, “Juno”), a man who owns his own company “Reynold’s Extract” that specializes in flavor-extract.

Joel puts long hours into his work in hopes that one day a major company will purchase his business, a dream that his manager Brian (played by J.K. Simmons, “Spider-Man” films, “Juno”) hopes will happen.  Having to deal with the amiable employees day in and day out, Joel feels that his main way of getting out his frustrations is through sex with his wife Suzie (played by Kristen Wiig, “Saturday Night Live”, “Adventureland”) and that he needs to get home to his place before 8:00 p.m. before his wife puts on her sweats.  Otherwise, he doesn’t get any.  As for Suzie, she yearns for their earlier years when life was much more simple for them and they had more time with each other.  Since Joel is working all the time, you get a sense that Suzie is quite lonely at home.

Meanwhile each time he tries to go home, Joel encounters his meddling and annoying neighbor Nathan (played by David Koechner, “Hank”, “American Dad!”) who tries to get Joel and his wife to go to a club dinner with them.

But at the extract factory, Joel’s employees are having a problem with people not pulling their own weight at the job and things start to go downhill when the workers briefly stop working and chaos takes place.  One of the factory’s hardworking employees Step (played by Clifton Collins Jr., “Star Trek”, “Crank: High Voltage”) gets into an accident and for Joel and Brian, they know that a lawsuit by Step can hurt the company’s chances from being purchased.

With all these problems in his life, Joel confides his problems to his friend/bartender Dean (played by Ben Affleck, “Armageddon”, “Chasing Amy”, “Daredevil”) who comes up with the wildest (and morally wrong) ideas to help his friend.

Meanwhile, with Step’s accident making it on the front page news, a kleptomaniac, habitual liar and opportunist named Cindy (played by Mila Kunis, “That 70’s Show”, “Family Guy”) gets a job at the extract factory and is up to no good.

Needless to say, Joel’s life changes when he meets Cindy.  But will the change be for the positive or the negative?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Extract” is featured in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1).  Picture quality has a fine layer of grain and colors vary from vibrant during the outdoor scenes, an emphasis on reds during the bar scenes and natural light or blues used in the factory.  Skin tones are natural and for the most part, picture quality is satisfactory for this film.

Audio is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit) and French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  For the most part, “Extract” is a dialogue driven film with most of the audio being front and center channel driven.  There is  music that utilizes the bass in the film but “Extract” is one of those films not to expect too much in terms of uses of lossless audio.   The soundtrack is appropriate for this film, being front and center channel and driven but you do hear the music utilized within the surround channels but that’s pretty much it.

Subtitles are featured in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Extract” comes with the following special features featured in 1080p or 480i, English 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital and with English SDH, French or Spanish subtitles.  Included are:

  • Mike Judge’s Secret Recipe—(10:48) What are the ingredients of a classic Mike Judge film? Go straight to the factory floor to uncover the writer and director’s secrets. From shooting in a real working factory to the unique cast of characters and situations, Mike Judge always seems to have the right recipe.  Interviews with the talent of “Extract” and more.
  • Extended Scenes—(4:28) 5 scenes featuring extended portions with Joel, Dean and Brad that didn’t make the final cut of the film.  Exclusive for the Blu-ray release.
  • Deleted Scene—(:37) Straight from the factory floor, watch this exclusive deleted scene (Blu-ray only) where Dean explains his rather abrupt departure from Willie’s party the night before and finds out Joel got punched in the face.

Many people including myself wondered if Mike Judge could pull of another sleeper hit with “Extract” as he did a decade ago with “Office Space”.  Although, “Office Space” was not a box office winner, on DVD it quickly gained a cult following.

Although, “Extract” is an enjoyable dark comedy, it doesn’t quite reach “Office Space” status but it sure does make for one entertaining 92-minutes.

Part of my enjoyment of the film is its unapologetic characters.  Jason Bateman does an incredible job as the role of Joel.  Deadpan humor, Joel seems like your average Joe, despite owning his own extract company.  But it’s the common repetitiveness in his life that his only satisfaction is by making sure he gets home in time before his designer wife puts on her sweatpants.

Joel’s wife (played by “Saturday Night Live” comedian Kristen Wiig) is your wife almost has a similar situation where she wants more from her marriage and have a closer relationship as they had when they were younger but the tradeoff for Joel’s success and a good living is her husband’s commitment to his business.  So, needless to say, the pressure of maintaining a large factory of workers takes up most of Joel’s time and thus leaving his wife home alone quite a bit.

But it’s the other characters that give “Extract” such a nice spin.  From the fed up factory workers who are not sure if Joel will sell the company; the stoner/bartender named Dean (played by Ben Affleck) who Joel goes to, when he needs to air his problems; Brian (played by J.K. Simmons), the second in command who tries to urge Joel to sell the company; the nosy and annoying neighbor Nathan (played by David Koechner);  the kleptomaniac and habitual liar Cindy (played by Mila Kunis); Brad the gigolo (played by Dustin Milligan, “90210”) hired to seduce Joel’s wife and the greedy attorney Joe Adler (played by KISS rocker Gene Simmons) .

Probably one of the funniest characters in the film is T.J. Miller (“Carpoolers”, “Cloverfield”) who plays the character of the musician Rory who goes up to everyone he works with and ask them to show up at his band’s gig.   His demeanor is quite hilarious and it’s good to see his character utilized quite a bit during the factory sequences of the film.

Each of these characters play a unique part in the film and for the most part, some of these characters are unapologetic, often misinformed and even greedy. But for the most part, Mike Judge really executed these characters quite well in the film.

If there was one thing about “Extract” which I felt was not as strong as his previous hit film “Office Space”, where there were characters that you do like and enjoy, “Extract” tends to have characters that you just don’t feel any good or bad towards them.

These are characters are dysfunctional in many ways and for the main character, you wonder how far down Joel will drive himself down to his poor decision making.  Needless to say, it all comes down to one’s sense of humor.

As for the Blu-ray release, I have to admit that I was surprised that there were only three special features.  I was expecting a commentary track, a gag reel, improve scenes or something more than what was included.   But overall, PQ is well-done and the lossless soundtrack was appropriate for the film.

There is no doubt that Mike Judge has a great take on comedy and he knows how to utilize humor in various settings (as he did in his animated series “King of the Hill” and even “Beavis & Butthead”) and once again he is able to accomplish a film that is hilarious, smart and outright witty.

As mentioned, it all comes down to your sense of humor.  If you enjoyed Mike Judge’s works, especially “Office Space”, definitely give “Extract” a chance!

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