extractAbout ten minutes into the new Mike Judge comedy Extract, I realized how long it’s been since I’ve seen a really bad movie. I’m just not used to that feeling of “Oh my god… I have to spend another hour and a half forcing myself to laugh at something that isn’t funny.”

At one point I contemplated walking out, imagining that if I came across something this dull on TV, I would certainly change the channel. Even a DVD rental would likely get ejected before the halfway point. But when I pay my $20 and take my seat before the lights go down, it feels like I’ve entered into a contract. And my end of the bargain is staying until the lights come back up again. I might be forgetting something, but I don’t think I’ve ever left a theater mid-movie in my life.

Extract isn’t offensive, just uninteresting and unfunny (which, I suppose, is an offense of sorts). Mostly it is a mind-numbing waste of talent. Fine comic performers such as Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Mila Kunis and JK Simmons should not be squandered on a script this lame. Only Ben Affleck seems to be having any fun at all, and his drug-dealing bartender is the film’s one saving grace. But like most of the characters in this horrible script, he shows up seemingly at random then disappears for long stretches.

I’m not even sure what writer-director Judge was going for here. His much-loved Office Space was a hilarious satire of cubicle culture, a live-action Dilbert cartoon to which anybody who’s ever worked in an office can relate. Extract is about too many things, and nothing at all. There’s nothing to relate to here, no character that resembles an actual human being, no situation that rings true.

I’ve already wasted 90 minutes of my life on this film, so I’ll stop there before I add to the tally.

4 thoughts on “Extract

  1. Amy says:

    Wow!!! I was so disappointed when Rene Rodriguez trashed it, but I wondered how it could really be THAT bad with all those talented people you in it. Apparently, Rene is right as usual, and your misfortune will save us from suffering a similar fate 😦

    On the other hand, I took the kids to see Shorts yesterday, and it was a perfectly pleasant way to spend 90 minutes, despite the critics’ reviews to the contrary. Again, perhaps it’s mostly about expectations? When you walk into a film starring Jason Batemen, don’t you just expect to laugh and love him? So the failure of the script to deliver is all the more unacceptable.

    Thanks again for posting this so quickly and stopping us from seeing it 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    Dana didn’t read the review because he waits until after we see each movie we’ll definitely see before reading your (or any) review of it. However, when I told him this particular review had me not wanting to see the film anymore, he headed straight to Rotten Tomatoes and reported that the film has a fresh rating. So both he and I are curious what you make of that?

  3. Clay says:

    In a word: disbelief.

    That Tomato ranking is what got us into the theater despite a few pans we’d read (including Rene Rodriguez’s). My guess is critics gave begrudging 2 1/2 star reviews based on the cast and Mike Judge’s previous output and that translated into enough fresh tomatoes to carry the day.

  4. Clay says:

    Actually, I take that back. Rodriguez’s review wasn’t all that bad (I just reread it). He said the movie made no sense but described it as having a lot of “big belly laughs.” That’s one of the things that persuaded me to see it… after all, belly laughs for the sake of belly laughs are not a bad thing.

    However, I barely chuckled. And that – not the paper-thin characters and lack of coherent plot – is the ultimate sin of this movie.

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