“Extract” – Not the Vanilla Kind

Extract Poster -- Image courtesy of Reelmovienews.com

Extract Poster -- Image courtesy of Reelmovienews.com

From the creator of “Office Space” comes a new comedy called “Extract”. “Extract” stars Jason Bateman (“Juno”) who plays Joel, the owner of an extract company, who is trying to deal with his personal and professional problems while another company expresses interest in buying his company. In the same fashion of “Office Space”, Joel is a typical normal guy who you can relate to. He started his company from the ground-up, his marriage has issues, and he has a gaggle of quirky employees. Everything changes when an unfortunate accident occurs on the job-site which can bankrupt the company. Also a new temp named Cindy (Mila Kunis, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) stirs things up at the workplace and Joel turns to his friend Dean (Ben Affleck, “He’s Just Not That Into You”) for advice for all of things going on in his life.

**POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD**

Extract is made up of many “flavors” so to speak, but it is far from complex. There are a few story lines that go on during this film but it can be split up into two categories. There’s Joel’s relationship woes and his company’s issues. Joel struggles with the decision to either stay with his wife or end his marriage in order to pursue Cindy the temp (Kunis) with a “guilt-free” conscience. On the other side of the coin, Joel’s company is doing well, so well that a bigger food conglomerate wants to buy his extract company. Sounds good, right? However, there is an accident that happens on the job site which puts the deal on hold. With all of these issues going on in his life, Joel turns to his friend Dean (Affleck) for advice, if you want to call it that. All in all, the film was funny and well presented but at times slow.

What worked?
The execution of the story. The film was funny and offbeat and all of the ingredients (cast, story, etc.) made the film work. The workers at the company are a quirky bunch but they all like working at the extract company. In fact the most interesting character was Step Clifton Collins Jr., “Star Trek”) who’s the guy that gets partially maimed by an accident at work. It’s a shame he didn’t get more screen time because his character was very grounded and one of the more sane workers. The relationship between Joel and his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig, “SNL”) is also an interesting story line. The way their relationship unfolds is quite interesting to watch and in the end their relationship does come around full circle.

What Didn’t Work?
Although the story was well told, the pacing of the film was a little sluggish at times. The ensemble cast was great as a whole, however I felt that some of the character back stories were underdeveloped. The biggest enigma is Kunis’s character Cindy. Cindy turns out to be a criminal drifter, but she is neither crazy or unpleasant. You never really understand what her agenda is. Is she running from something, a thrill seeker, or a gold digger? Beneath it all, what was her (Cindy’s) motivation? Perhaps a deleted scene may have that answer. Two other characters that I found were a little out there and a bit underdeveloped were Dean (Affleck) and Brad (Dustin Milligan, “90210”). There was something weird about Affleck playing a bartender that believed that all of the world’s problems could be solved by ingesting different pills. I didn’t really buy it. Affleck had some good punch lines but I felt like he was too old for the role so at times his delivery was a bit over the top and almost cheesy. Milligan’s character Brad was a teenage gigolo and not to say that we as the audience needed a reason why he chose to be a gigolo but the character is so dense that his scenes weren’t funny but rather annoying.

Final Thoughts:
All in all, I liked the film and I would give it a solid B. The film was funny, but not as funny as I thought it was going to be but still a worth-while trip to the theater, but if you can wait – I would rent it.

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