Disney / Buena Vista | 2009 | 92 mins. | Rated R

As the creator of Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill, Mike Judge has proven himself to be a very funny guy. While his forays into television have been incredibly successfully, the world of theatrical films has proven to be considerably bumpy. His first film, 1999’s Office Space was a failure at the box office, only to gain a huge cult following, and new life on DVD. His next one, 2006’s Idiocracy, was so badly handled by 20th Century Fox that it could be argued the studio wanted the film to fail. 2009 brought us Extract; fans of Judge’s such as myself, were sure hoping the third time would be the charm. While Extract is admittedly not as good as Office Space, Judge did create a solid comedy with a generous helping of laughs.

ExtractThe story centers on Joel (Jason Bateman) founder and owner of Reynold’s Extract. His employees like him, and the company is fairly successful. However, his personal life is a mess. Every day, he tries to make it home before his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig) puts on her sweatpants. Why you ask? Because once the sweatpants go on, that means he has to suffer through another day without sex. He also has to deal with the world’s most annoying neighbor, Nathan (David Koechner), who simply won’t take no for an answer. He seeks solace from his best friend Dean (a barely recognizable Ben Affleck, sporting a heavy beard and long hair).

Even though Joel’s employees like him, they would hardly be considered the cream of the American workforce. Step (Clifton Collins Jr.), the most competent of the group, lost his testicles during a freak factory accident. Mary (Beth Grant), a 50-something bottle inspector, refuses to lift a finger if any of her co-workers stop to take a breather. And Cindy (Mila Kunis), the new temp, is a grafter of sorts, who uses her looks to rob everyone blind.

Try as he might, Joel has no real control over any of the employees at his company, and soon falls under the spell of the beguiling Cindy. Quickly, he finds himself entertaining thoughts of cheating on his wife. Dean, who seems to be perpetually high, hatches a plan: hire a male prostitute to seduce and sleep with Suzie. That way, Joel’s cheating will be fair game. Joel agrees to the plot, but only after downing an elephant tranquilizer provided by his friend.

Dustin Milligan serves up quite a few laughs as the world’s dumbest gigolo, Brad. Much Like office Space, Extract’s humor comes from the characters and their hilarious, sometimes off the wall exchanges. Many of Bateman’s scenes with Affleck match the brilliance of the dialogue in Office Space, but where that film focused on the interactions between three friends, this film brings more characters into the mix, As a result, the narrative doesn’t always maintain its focus, and the laughs aren’t quite as consistent.

While I couldn’t say that Extract is as good Office Space, the film does provide some genuine laughs, and a few of the scenes between Bateman and Affleck are totally hilarious. Admittedly, the fact that there are so many characters make the entire story feel about muddled and rushed; overall though, the fact that any one of these characters could be us, or at the very least someone we know, makes Extract a fairly effective comedy.

Extract comes to blu-ray sporting a somewhat disappointing 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. The film looks flat and stilted throughout. While the colors are natural looking, they look rather dull, and fail to truly pop at any point in the proceedings. Black levels are also lacking throughout. The level of detail is okay, but it’s nothing spectacular. It’s the type of result you might expect from a transfer of a film of mid-eighties vintage, not 2009. Whether this was the filmmaker’s intention, I can’t say. Whatever the case, don’t by this title expecting reference quality video.

Flat and front-heavy, Disney’s underwhelming DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is one of the most sterile mixes on the market. Dialogue is generally clean and intelligible — despite the fact that some scenes (chief among them Joel’s first encounter with Cindy) struggle with muffled voices — but little else makes a lasting impact. Rear speaker activity is sparse, ambience is virtually nonexistent, acoustics are unconvincing, and LFE support is weak. Directionality is spotty, pans are fairly smooth, and dynamics are adequate (particularly considering the track’s aforementioned issues). This is just mediocre stuff.

English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.

Extract comes with a package of underwhelming special features:

Deleted Scene (:40, SD): rather forgettable.
Extended Scenes (4:29, SD: more extended scenes that are enjoyable but not really the kind of scenes that will merit further viewing.
Mike Judge’s Secret Recipe (10:48, HD): features the cast and crew discussing the making of the film.

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