Lowdown: Sexual frustration unravels the life of a food manufacturing plant's owner as well as the plant’s.
It’s been a week of 40+ degree days. Therefore, no one could blame us for opting to go with a light comedy when it came to celebrating our return to the kingdom of Netflix. And what better light comedy could there be than one starring Jason Bateman and directed by Mike Judge, the guy who brought us Beavis & Butt-Head? Hence 2009’s Extract.
Bateman continues making the most out of his Arrested Development well earned credit with this one, where he plays Joel – the owner of a plant producing food extract concentrates. You may well think that other than an annoying neighbour Joel is cruising through life, with his BMW and Kristen Wiig of a wife, but no. As far as he’s concerned, the factory’s there to be sold so he can retire, and the home front isn’t going too well – by the time he comes home from work his wife’s already wearing her tracksuit pants, and from that point onwards there is no sex to be had. He can't even masturbate in peace at the toilets, what with all the noise from the TV.
Frustration is accumulating to a breakpoint which comes through several events. First there an accident at the factory that causes an employee to lose his balls and puts the factory in danger of being sued to bankruptcy. Second is Cindy (Mila Kunis), a new employee at the factory. She’s hot and everyone wants a piece of her, our Joel included; however, she is also nothing but a conniving thief, there to make as much money as she can out of the balls incident. And third, there’s Joel hippie friend Dean (Ben Affleck), who convinces Joel to solve his problems the unorthodox way: through drugs and a gigolo.
Essentially, the plan is to pay someone to seduce Joel’s wife so that Joel would not feel bad for going after Cindy. As you can expect, things do not go as planned, not at all; which is how we end up with a movie to watch.
Extract is interesting for its utilisation of comic talent. Aside of Bateman, we have names such as J.K. Simmons, Gene Simmons and lest we forget the severely under-utilised Wiig (clearly indicating Extract was made prior to Bridesmaids). Alas, while they all have their moments under the limelight, the final result feels rather incohesive. As in, Extract is not as funny as it should have been. Then again, Extract does deal head on with midlife crisis and other serious themes (such as racism at the factory), so it is not to be easily dismissed.
Overall: It feels as if not even half the potential this one could have provided has been extracted. 2.5 out of 5 stars.