Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mike Judge's Extract (2009)

This was a funny, clever movie. It didn't make me laugh out loud as much as I'd anticipated, but Jason Bateman is brilliant in the understated lead role as an earnest small businessman trying to re-instill the passion in his marriage.

Judge also directed Office Space and Idiocracy. I haven't seen Idiocracy but -- after listening to Dana Stevens talk about it all week on various Slate podcasts -- I am curious.

In Extract, Judge captures suburban // ex-urban life -- both on the homefront and the workplace -- quite well. Gene Simmons' role as a money-chasing lawyer (with a fantastic wig! ) is terrific, but the real show-stealer is David Koechner as a hilariously annoying neighbor who will not let Bateman get away without a frustratingly lingering conversation in the driveway.

Just about all the characters in the film have a good mix of humanity and ridiculousness. Unlike Judd Apatow's tendency, though, this movie didn't feel like just a conglomeration of sketch pieces. Here's a shot of Bateman and Clifton Collins, Jr. discussing Collins' threatened testicle-based lawsuit:


Mila Kunis plays the scammer who everybody falls for:


I think Jason Bateman might be my current favorite actor. He doesn't overdo it (a la Adam Sandler and (at times) Kevin Spacey) -- his facial expressions are just expressive enough to be funny.

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