Extract Review: The Taste of Comedy
When a film gets a US release date eight months before we do, we have to ask some questions.
Did the studio think it was rubbish? Were the actors not famous enough at the time? Would the humour not translate with British audiences?
I guess we’ll never know why Extract is only being released in the UK now, but I’m grateful we’re getting it at all because it’s not half bad.
Jason Bateman stars as Joel, the sexually frustrated owner of an extract factory. After an accident on the factory floor leaves one of his workers minus one testicle, con woman Cindy (Mila Kunis) steps in to get her hands on some of the settlement money. Joel becomes infatuated with her but can only justify an affair if his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig) has one first.
Joel’s drug pedalling best friend Dean (Ben Affleck) convinces him to hire Brad the gigolo to seduce Suzie. Unfortunately, she goes for it big time and Joel is left wondering what to do with money-grubbing employees, a crappy best friend and a cheating wife.
Fans of Arrested Development will already be familiar with Bateman’s dry sense of humour which makes him a perfect fit for writer/director Mike Judge’s material. Surprisingly enough though, his script reads as more dramatic than comedic in tone which is a shame given the wonderful cast.
With his laid back, drug addled performance, Affleck steals the show comedy-wise and his character often gets the best lines. Coming in at a close second is Dustin Milligan as Brad the moronic male prostitute. Brad’s stupidity is utterly infuriating and Milligan plays it for all it’s worth.
Wiig is relegated to a small role and she does an adequate job but you can’t help the feeling that she was robbed. The same goes for Mila Kunis whose screen time is surprisingly scarce given the amount of trouble her character causes.
Usual scene stealers, Beth Grant and J.K. Simmons were wasted in secondary roles; it seems like Mike Judge didn’t really know how to develop any characters other than Joel and Dean. Instead of producing a cool indie comedy, Mike Judge managed to write the film straight into obscurity by failing to give depth to his characters.
The film is fairly uneven in tone, never knowing quite how to go about switching from dramatic to comedic moments but its drama is fairly solid and there are plenty of laughs. As far as seeing it in the cinema goes, we’ve already waited this long to get it in the UK, hanging on for a DVD release won’t kill you.