Thursday, September 10, 2009

TBG Finally Sees: Extract

Jalen's "Grandma Bootleg" came down for a visit over Labor Day weekend. I love my mother. Really, I do. But, it's taken 5 ½ years for me to trust her with my 5 ½ year-old son. On Thanksgiving Day 2005, Jalen nearly walked into a hot oven as Grandma Bootleg left the oven's door open while basting the turkey. That same day, she tumbled down a small set of stairs while carrying the boy.

My mom means well – like the time we left an under-the-weather Jalen with her and returned to find him under two thick blankets, running a fever of 102 – but, I feel a lot more comfortable with her grandparenting when a parent is around to watch over her.

On Saturday night, me and Mrs. Bootleg went to the movies. Even under my mother's indifferent eye, I knew he was in good hands. As my mom exclaimed when we returned home, "He went right upstairs and turned on the A's game!" That's my boy.

So, yeah…"Extract". There were a handful of well-received movies playing at our local Googleplex, including "Inglorious Basterds", "District 9" and "Julie and Julia". I didn't think Mrs. Bootleg could look past Tarantino's penchant for blood, guts and gore to see the critically-acclaimed flick underneath. My wife's the same woman who told me Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" remake "scared" her, so "9" was out. And, it's looking like I'm getting dragged to "Julie and Julia" this weekend. So, yeah…"Extract".


I will always (heart) writer/director Mike Judge for "Office Space", but he's been suckling from the collective teets of that film's cult following for 10 years. It's time to accept his cinematic legacy just might be the bad Bill Lumbergh impersonations found around any office in America.

"Extract" revolves around a small-town, small business owner (Jason Bateman) who's wallowing in a personal and professional rut. Mila Kunis is the piping-hot con artist who steals Bateman's heart and has designs on stealing a lot more. The quirky company employees and a bizarre turn by Ben Affleck as a bartender/illicit pharmaceutical rep provide the comic relief.

The biggest – and it was hard to single one thing out – problem with "Extract" is that every single character is colossally unlikeable. All of 'em.

Joel - (Jason Bateman)…hires a gigolo to seduce his wife, so that he'll feel less guilty about his own adultery.

Cindy - (Mila Kunis)…steals from co-workers, lets others take the fall. Uses hotness to manipulate almost every man in the movie.

Suzie - (Kristen Wiig)…married to Joel, but content with sex-less sweatpants-wearing existence. She and the gigolo…well, they…yeah. They do.

Dean - (Ben Affleck)…crazy-bearded and incoherent. Plays Joel's best friend and confidant. A blight on every scene he's in.

Brian - (JK Simmons)…Joel's right-hand man at the plant, he hates every other employee with a passion and can't wait for Joel to sell the company.

Step - (Clifton Collins)…yokel who loses testicle in freak workplace accident. His character is written as someone who deserved it, then Judge attempts to build sympathy for him as the mark in Cindy's con. He's an a-hole again by the end of the movie.

Brad - (Dustin Milligan)…the gigolo. You'll want to punch him in the mouth after 10 seconds. Talks like 1990s Gen-X "slacker" archetype.

Joe - (The Late Gene Simmons)…Jesus, make it stop.

I could hear every chair squeak and every last drop of soda sucked through the straws of everyone in the theater. "Extract" felt like a sh*tty sitcom pilot with it's two-dimensional clichéd characters (Hey, it's the annoying neighbor!) and repetitive "comedic" devices (Hey, the annoying neighbor won't leave!)

On the plus side, Jalen was still alive when we got home. We took that as a victory.


Joe said...

The Late Gene Simmons? I didn't know he died, or are you just lamenting the loss of his career?

You and Mrs. Bootleg need to do what my fiancee and I do. Find a movie that each of you want to go see, go to the movies and each of you watch your own movie.

The day she saw Julie & Julia, I saw GI Joe.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Yeah, I've been doing that "the late..." bit for years - dating back to my old weekly column. One time, I used it on Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and received a good amount of hate mail and it stuck.

Also, I'll have to defer to my handful of female readers - but, while I find your movie idea AWESOME, I'm not sure it carries over to married folk.

(Still, I will throw out to Mrs. Bootleg this weekend.)