Let me give it to you straight--Mike Judge,
overall, is really for a very slim subset of comedic arts fans.
Looking over his body of work, "Office Space" is a classic but it
wasn't a classic until it was out a couple of years on DVD...and,
the rest of his work is for the kind of guy (yes, only guys) who
liked "King of the Hill", "Beavis and Butthead" and
"Idiocracy." The mainstream thinks that two of those three
products were average-to-poor overall; the third, "Beavis and
Butthead", was never more than a cult phenomenon anyway. (Even
at the height of it, most people thought that "B&B" was a one-trick
pony tied to the leads' silly laughs.)
If you go see "Extract", you really have to
be a Judge fan...probably, a fanatic. Two critics, quoted in
the "Extract" ad campaign, have been quoted as saying "Extract" is
"the funniest movie of the year" or "the best comedy of the year."
To consider how truly insane that is, you have to see "Extract"
after seeing any of the following--"Brüno",
"The Hangover" or a
Blart: Mall Cop", which is generally considered unfunny.
Is "Extract" better than "Paul Blart: Mall
Cop"?? Possibly. On some levels, it can't really compare
because "Extract" is clearly (and ratings-wise) for adults, and it
has talent that you've probably seen before, whereas "Blart" only
really has Kevin James. I chuckled during both of these films,
and there is one scene that made me laugh-laugh during "Extract",
when our lead, Joel (Jason Bateman) is at a guy's house doing bong
hits for the first time in many years. Otherwise, it's not
The insanity in calling "Extract" the best
at anything in 2009 really hits you when you've seen both "Extract"
and, say, "Brüno" or "The Hangover." Whether you liked "Brüno"
or not, generally the movie is considered to have more belly laughs
than essentially any other mainstream film this year...making it a
funnier movie than "Extract", purely on the highs-and-lows scale.
But, with "The Hangover", you have a movie that has better
characters, a better script, more laughs and nearly $300 million in
box office this year, making it a top five film in gross revenues.
When you watch "Extract", here's what you WON'T see:
Good characters. All of the
characters in "Extract" are terrible; however, Brad (the gigolo
played by Dustin Milligan) will probably make you giggle and
Dean (Ben Affleck) might get you at some point, mainly for the
bad haircut that Affleck is wearing throughout the movie.
Good casting. Maybe worse than the
characters, the casting of "Extract" made me shake my head for
hours after I saw the film. Kristen Wiig plays the wife of
the Bateman character; her specialty is playing whacked-out bit
players, like the ones she's played in
"Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story",
"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" or anything on "Saturday Night
Live." What does she play in "Extract"? A bored
housewife. J.K. Simmons is wasted, the great Clifton
Collins, Jr. is wasted, Bateman isn't that funny, David Koechner
is wasted...strangely, the best casting here might be KISS
frontman Gene Simmons as a dirty ambulance chaser.
The kind of movie that reminds you of
"Office Space." Maybe, looking back now, Judge got lucky
with the now-ten-years-old classic comedy, but scenes like the
office equipment beatdown in the open field, or socially-wise
genius like a white guy singing along to hip-hop afraid to be
faced with a black homeless guy while driving to work, are
nowhere to be found in "Extract."
Very, very disappointing. Hopefully
you are reading this before making the decision to go see this
movie...avoid this in theaters, and roll the dice if you're a Judge
fan when the movie comes to DVD.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard