Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”
There were signs of Mike Judge losing his grip on Idiocracy, and with this film, the material gets away from him completely. What originated as a satire about owner/employee relations in a factory turns into a weird, unbelievable montage of stupidity, drug abuse, and gullibility. Half of the dialogue seems improvised as the actors mumble and stammer their way through vague scenes. Whole sub-plots are set up and forgotten about. The movie forces the characters to do really, really obviously stupid things just so it can revel in the results. If any of the half-intelligent characters in this movie would just act like recognizable human beings for a moment, and say or do the one simple obvious thing that would end their crisis, the movie would be over, instead of dragging on for what feels like an eternity. I am not filled with hope for future Mike Judge productions.
Scott Hardie: On further consideration, I think the problem is that the movie is a satire without a target. Beavis and Butt-head criticized the abdication of parental responsibilities to public schools and television. Office Space criticized the dehumanizing banality and drudgery of cubicle life. Idiocracy criticized America's anti-intellectualism and embrace of low-brow taste.
Extract feels like a satire in that same mold, but doesn't seem to know what it's railing against. The crew of the factory is incompetent, but each character in their own specific way. Besides, we see most events from the rich owner's perspective, and satire is really difficult when we're asked to sympathize with the people in power; it's like making a high school comedy that criticizes the various dweebs and losers while the popular rich girl is positioned as the likable hero. I don't know if there's any consistent theme to the domestic scenes outside of the factory, except maybe that Jason Bateman's character is unassertive and has poor taste in associates, which seem too specific to him personally.
Maybe I'm mistaken and this isn't intended as a satire. Maybe it's supposed to be more of an observational, character-driven comedy like King of the Hill. But the characters on that animated show were mostly warm, charismatic people who we wanted to spend time with, and their behavior was recognizable and understandable. The characters in Extract make stupid, terrible decisions solely because the plot needs them to; you never sense that these characters would really do these things. This movie is a failure on multiple levels, which would be forgivable if it were funny, but it's not even remotely funny. − August 4, 2012 more by Scott
Erik Bates: I watched Extract a while back, and honestly, I don't remember much about it. I think my primary reason for seeing it was Jason Bateman, because who doesn't love Michael Bluth? − August 6, 2012 more by Erik