I love Mike Judge. I feel that I should throw that out there before anyone gets confused and thinks that this is a giant hate-fest. It’s not and isn’t going to turn into one any time soon.
That being said, it’s not a post of praise either.
A devotee of Judge’s twisted (yet right on the money) sense of humor since I first saw Office Space years ago before I even knew what an office and a regular job was like. Time has passed and even now that I knew the terrifying realities of normal work, I can still get a laugh from that movie. Perhaps there is something charming in the guy who just won’t get it in his head that he’s fired emerging the overall “winner” or the scene in which they beat a fax machine into bits and pieces. Whatever it is, I love it despite the fact that I am probably not the target audience.
This love (which doesn’t stop me from seeing the flaws in Judge’s style, but appreciating them as part of the bigger picture) has led me to seeing other works by this man. I sat through Democracy which I found funny in strange ways against my better judgment (maybe it was the overall idea that did it) and I have been known to watch King of the Hill reruns and The Goode Family when it came on this summer.
All of this led me to sitting down and watching Extract. Upon seeing the trailers and commercials I figured there couldn’t be something terribly wrong with it. It starred Jason Bateman who I have loved since his days as Teen Wolf Too as well as featuring J.K. Simmons, Kristen Wiig and Mila Kunis. Heck, I was even willing to look over the fact that it had Ben Affleck who was almost unrecognizable through parts of the trailer and well, Dustin Milligan (of The CW’s revamped 90210 fame) was just an amusing addition.
None of these things could save it.
I don’t know what it was, exactly, but never have I been more appreciative of a short run time. It wasn’t that I was staring at my watch every few minutes, hoping the agony would end because I simply wasn’t. It wasn’t a wasteland of try-hard humor and vanilla acting. I laughed a few times, could see how things had the possibility of being funny and they never came to fruition.
It wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of the actors. Featuring an array of performances that were excellent given the material to work with (KISS’s Gene Simmons as an attorney made my afternoon) but I couldn’t help feeling that I wish there had been more to the overall joke. Call me crazy, but part of the charm of Office Space was the fact that this was the story that everyone experiences. The job you hate but have to go to, the crazy hair-brained schemes you think up to get out of the job and all of the little nagging details you’re stuck with. The charm was lacking from this movie and maybe I’m being irrational and trying to tie it up too simply but an hour and a half devoted to the idea of losing a testicle seems like a bit of a stretch. While that joke was funny at first, it quickly lost its charm as it was dragged through the mud and beaten until it no longer looked anything like a joke. The abuse of the premise coupled with the fact that there wasn’t even a single likable character in the entire film made me cringe. Where was the charm of the everyman? Where were the quirky, possibly annoying characters that just worked?
They were probably out eating at Chotchkie’s and forgot to check their voicemail.
Overall it wasn’t a bad movie (I’ve certainly seen worse in the last month, if not the last year) but when it comes to the grand scheme of Judge films and TV shows I could take or leave it. If you’re looking for an Office Space of the new decade, I’m going to suggest you rent the original. You’d be less disappointed in the end.