Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Extract was a little Vanilla, not enough Mocha-Mint

One of the many movies on my very long "must see" list of fall movies was Extract. It had Jason Bateman. It was from the guys that brought us the hi-larious Office Space. It had the amazing and incredibly under-rated Kristen Wiig from SNL. It is about a Food Flavouring Company. Ben Affleck has long hair and a beard. There is a both a hawt girl who is a con artist and a male gigolo who is as dumb as a post. Sounded promising. I thought it would be laugh out loud funny.

It was funny, don't get me wrong. But it was not Office Space funny. There were no "It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care" moments. There were no 37 pieces of flare. Maybe i shouldn't have gone in with such high expectations. Perhaps I shouldn't have gotten so pissed at the asshole sitting behind me who decided it was okay to talk on her f*cking phone during the movie.

Anyways....moving on ;)

"Extract tells the story of Joel Reynold (Jason Bateman), a man who seems to have everything. After all, being the owner of a business he built from the ground up—with its patented brand of culinary extracts—should make the "Extract King" a happy man. However, if Joel hasn't reached his front door by 8 o'clock, he'll find his wife, Suzie (Kristen Wiig) cinching up her sweatpants—and about as interested in him as he is in her mastery of supermarket coupon design.

Sexually frustrated, Joel confides in his best pal, Dean (Ben Affleck), a barkeep—and soon finds himself wrapped up in a convoluted scheme to make Suzie cheat on him first with a dim-witted gigolo (Dustin Milligan)—thereby allowing him to pursue beautiful new employee Cindy (Mila Kunis) with a clear conscience. Unbeknownst to Joel, the object of his affections is a con artist/sociopath—just one step away from having her parole revoked.

Meanwhile, Joel and his second-in-command, Brian (J.K. Simmons) have entered negotiations for a buyout of Reynold Extracts by General Mills. All they need to do is keep things tidy, quiet and moving while waiting for the final offer. Of course, this fails to take into account the employees on the factory floor and when an accident occurs it results in one of his workers (Step - played by Clifton Collins Jr) losing a portion of his manhood.Seeing a big payday, the con-artist temp woos the otherwise-loyal Step, convincing him to sue for millions, engaging bus bench lawyer Joe Adler (Gene Simmons) to "fight for his rights"—regardless of the fact that doing so will cost Joel the factory."

The performances were great, particularly the underused Kristen Wiig. She is a fantastic comedic actor - can't wait to see her this year on the new season of SNL - isn't she pretty much the only female cast member they have left? I also have to give a shout out to local boy Dustin Milligan. His portrayal of the dimwitted (and that is me being very generous) gigilo hired by Joel to sleep with and seduce his wife Suzie was outstanding. JK Simmons & Jason Bateman were awesome as always, and I am very happy that Mila Kunis is finally getting some decent movie roles. I thought she was great in That 70's Show and she is hi-larious as the voice of Meg Griffin in The Family Guy. Oh Meg Griffin, when you finally go postal, no one will fault you. Trust me.....

I am trying to figure out why my feelings for this movie are somewhat lukewarm. It was funny and smart and very well acted. There was a lot going on...... Joel & Suzie's interaction with the most annoying neighbour in the world was very funny. But I think I was just expecting more. With a cast & filmmaker of this calibre, I should have been peeing my pants laughing. But I wasn't. And it wasn't just because I was traumatised by seeing Gene Simmons on a large screen.
Maybe it is because Mike Judge typically focuses on ordinary people, and Joel and Suzie were not. Maybe it is because in spite of the hilarity of the interactions with the increasingly annoying neighbour, the running joke wasn't enough for me to end up being such an important part of the story. Maybe it was that super rude girl who talked on her cell phone and really pissed me off.

I wanted Extract to be a great movie. On paper, it looked amazing. And it was very good. But it wasn't great. And that really saddened me.
Big movie weekend with The Informant!, Jennifer's Body and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs opening. And I still haven't seen Sorority Row or 9. Don't judge me for Sorority Row. I will gladly fork over $10 to see Audrina Patridge and Rumor Willis get hacked to pieces - on film at least. And it also has Carrie Fisher. Nuff said. I am thinking a double feature on Saturday.... weather is supposed to be crappy here, so why not ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment