Extract - DVD Review

'only makes you titter when you should be guffawing, only invites a smile when a laugh should be present'

It's easy to see how Extract could have been a flimsy excuse to have Jason Bateman wander around doing little apart from exuding his easy charm and slacker-leanings that have seen him become such a popular presence since the success of Arrested Development. Luckily, Mike Judge has a lot more smarts than that and ensures Bateman is supported by a fairly decent plot and a wonderful selection of actors (Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Clifton Collins Jr., J.K. Simmons), any one of whom could justifiably cause reasonable levels of excitement as the second-billed turn.

With all that talent and Judge's occasionally brilliant script about the trials and tribulations of Joel (Bateman), the owner of a small town, extract bottling plant, it's a real shame to report that too often, Extract only makes you titter when you should be guffawing, only invites a smile when a laugh should be present.

The opening scene proves to be a case in point. Mila Kunis, perennially miss-cast but here finally finding form, swindles two besotted store-clerks out of a guitar, then pawns it off for more than it's worth. This should be two scenes loaded with laughter but instead they're almost processional: the bumbling store clerks are bumbling, the attractive Kunis is attractive, the fat lazy guy from the pawn shop is fat and lazy.

This sort of under-sold, under-directed, scene continues throughout. Time and again scenes that should catch fire often and hilariously are lame or melancholic. Twice Joel finds himself out of his tree on drugs. Total number of laughs in those scenes: perhaps two, at best. Not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination and every single one of the performances are charming and occasionally brilliant (Kristen Wiig in particular is fantastic as Joel's conflicted wife) but too many departments lack substantial amounts of mirth and invention to fully recommend it.

Look further...

'those of us frustrated by [Judge's] earlier failings will take Extract as a sign of progress' - Phil On Film


  1. I'd sy your assessment is pretty accurate. I enjoyed the film, but it didn't hit any chords or funny bones. The only scene that made me laugh hard was the one (if I'm remembering this correctly) when Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck are getting high over at Mila Kunis' father's place.

  2. Thanks Edgar, glad you agree. Yeah, that scene is OK but I wouldn't say I laughed out loud at it. A couple of the scenes with Affleck and Batemen were fun and the scene where Kristen Wiig tries to talk seriously with the 'Brad' character I thought had some humour but as you say, nothing is as hilarious as it should be. Still relatively entertaining though.