The following script review of Mike Judge’s Extract contains moderate spoilers.
Mike Judge remains one of the most important and original voices working in American Comedy today, and with Extract the writer-director may do for the bland absurdity of successful white guys in mid-life crisis, stagnant marriages, and bullshit factory jobs what he did for cubicle-drones in Office Space and untended ‘90s adolescence in Beavis and Butt-head.
Judge is fascinated by average dudes whose big pictures are realistically small pictures. But rather than spike his societal observations with pathologically self-aware condescension, college-y elitism, or rage like The Office or Tim and Eric Awesome Show (shows I love), Judge stews in it. The cool-guy alternative to a life that equates to “This sucks” sucks just as much. And as a result, there’s a half-empty glass of doom in Judge’s work that’s like enjoying a beer at a baseball game. His characters often pick up coffee mugs on the cusp of bleak realizations, and Judge reserves his laughter so you’ll laugh harder and savor the truths. I’m always surprised that Judge’s signature pregnant pauses translate as well on paper as they do in movies or animation.
When a character in Extract loses a testicle in an accident, this tragic ball directly and indirectly pushes the lives of other characters into existential free-fall. None more so than Joel Reynolds (to be played by Jason Bateman, nice choice), a married 40-something owner and operator of a food-flavoring extract plant. The randomness of his business is a McGuffin of sorts representing the majority of unglamorous American jobs we rarely read or think about, even if we have them ourselves. Joel’s stay-at-home-laptop wife, Suzie (to be played by Kristen Wiig), barely responds to his good-natured shares about a potential cookies-and-cream extract breakthrough. Their sex life is best summed up by her comfort-zone sweatpants and her love of the Idol, a jerk-off killer for Joel no less.
Joel’s his own boss, and with his McMarriage on the rocks, he doesn’t have many people to confide in. Most of the employees at his factory are uneducated, lazy idiots who ineptly handle boxes of extract like self-important lemmings, so he laments inside the sports bar of a Holiday Inn owned by his friend Dean. According to Dean, a borderline shadeball, the solution to Joel’s common problems are Xanax, Special K and a brilliant plan. If Suzie cheats on him, Joel can cheat on her with the hot piece of ass—too good to be true—that just arrived at his plant (to be played by Mila Kunis). (I’m pretty sure Dean’s drugdealer is played by Ben Affleck).
This plan backfires, of course, with his wife enjoying a prolonged Skinemax scenario at his expense. Joel’s journey of self marches through a funny storm consisting of an annoying fucking neighbor, minor drug use, gossipy employees, and a proto-American lawsuit involving that aforementioned character’s ball. If the guy had lost both his balls, he’d be a complete freak one lawyer surmises, but the loss of one could mean piles of sympathy moolah.
This is not a script bursting with commercial appeal, but it has the workings of a sleeper hit, a resulting film that should satisfy Office Space’s sizable following, including people who couldn’t tolerate or warm to Idiocracy’s blast-stupid-with-stupid M.O. on DVD. The script’s dry and dark ending is what sealed the deal for me. Rather than turn a new leaf, Joel endures the chaos, like in real life. And it made me realize how few comedies we see these days about actual adults, rather than teens, 20somethings or stunted 30somethings. Extract is about processing personal fuck-ups and limitations and other peoples’ into a schematic of 40something sanity and compromise. It’s also about the vulnerability of the nutsack. And the guy who refers to everyone at work as “dinkus.” I hope to never meet him.
Discuss: Are you anticipating Mike Judge’s Extract? Where do you think Judge ranks amongst today’s comedy directors and writers?
Ben Affleck and Clifton Collins Jr (Traffic, Capote) have been cast in Mike Judge‘s next live action feature film Extract. Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis and Kristen Wiig have already boarded the project, which has been described as “what it’s like to be the boss when everything seems to be shifting around you.” Bateman stars as a flower extract factory owner who is suffering a bout of bad luck. Everything is going wrong at work and his wife is having an affair with a gigolo.
And no, Affleck is not playing the gigolo. Collins plays a factory worker who loses a body part in a freak accident, and is now looking fo a financial settlement. Affleck will be playing an ambulance-chasing lawyer, who one must assume will be helping Collins’ character with the lawsuit. The project is scheduled to begin production on Monday in Los Angeles.
You probably know Mike Judge as the creator of Beavis and Butthead, King of The Hill and the popular cult work comedy Office Space. Fox basically buried Judges’ second feature film Idiocracy, which now appears to be getting a cult following on DVD/tv.
I think a lot of people love Judge’s work because he creates comedy that is very relatable, but in a second person sense. Everyone has encountered a Beavis. Everyone knows a family like the Hill family. And everyone has a job, and most people have worked in an office at one point in their life. I think Idiocracy might have been too “cartoonish” for some, even though the concepts at the core of the film speaks a lot about the current direction of humanity. But I have to wonder how many people will relate to a factory owner?
Obama chimp t-shirts. The Love Guru. These guys. “That f’ing hat.” How many words are wasted criticizing, analyzing and decrying today’s world, when all we really need is a “This sucks!” delivered by an AWOL Beavis and Butt-Head? Bring ‘em back. The brilliant creator of America’s foremost juvenile delinquents, Mike Judge, tells MTV that he’s finally considering a new Beavis and Butt-Head film, albeit a live-action one…
“The Three Stooges survived a lot of different guys with Shemp, Curly,” Judge reasoned. “I haven’t yet said, ‘OK, I wanna make a live-action “Beavis & Butt-Head” movie, and here’s the idea.’ But for some reason, I used to hate the idea for years, and now I think maybe there’s something there.”
“I was thinking about having a Beavis and Butt-Head movie where they’re just 60-year-old winos. Just something different but with the same spirit of it, you know? A long time ago Johnny Depp had said to me-he really wanted to be Beavis-he said, if you ever do a live-action movie, he wanted to be Beavis. And he said he was doing [Don Juan DeMarco] with Marlon Brando and he said Marlon Brando used to imitate Butt-Head and he would imitate Beavis, so I guess I’m thinking Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando. [smiles]”
The interviewer at MTV also suggested Sean William Scott for Beavis, a name that’s been brought up in the past for a live-action version. And if you remember, before the so-so Beavis and Butt-Head Do America hit theaters, Adam Sandler was another. Thankfully that didn’t happen. My take is that Judge would need to cast younger.
Obviously Depp is the exception, but Sean William Scott is frankly old and too jockish for either character; the actors need to possess a fresher chemistry and more age appropriate look a la Clark and Michael or Jake and Amir (click either to watch/laff). Judge, whose next film is the comedy Extract with Jason Bateman, also mentioned that a B&B theme park ride has been discussed. Nachos, terrified fat Americans, barf and flies everywhere. That would not suck.
Discuss: Who would you choose to play Beavis and Butt-Head? Sexman and McLovin? Anyone? Anyone?
Mike Judge is ready to return to the director’s chair! You probably know Mike Judge as the creator of Beavis and Butthead, King of The Hill and the popular cult work comedy Office Space. Fox basically buried Judges’ second feature film Idiocracy, which now appears to be cultivating a cult following on DVD/tv.
Judge’s third live-action feature film Extract will explore “what it’s like to be the boss when everything seems to be shifting around you.” Jason Bateman has signed on to star, Judge’s new shingle Ternion Prods. will produce, while Miramax has come aboard to distribute the film in the U.S. Not much else is known, we’ll update you when more information is available.