Three out of five stars
Rated R/91 min.
Character is everything in a Mike Judge comedy. Whether it’s following the exploits of the ultra-stupid Beavis and Butthead or nailing the horrors of dimwit bosses and the barely contained rage that lies in the next cubicle in Office Space, the plots of Judge’s TV shows and films have always taken a backseat to his affectionately drawn characters.
Extract has only the slightest story, about how the owner of a vanilla extract plant (Jason Bateman) plots an affair with an attractive new employee (Mila Kunis) while going to outrageous lengths to keep his marriage afloat.
The characters work because they’re recognizable: David Koechner is perfect as the irritating neighbor who’s so nice, you just can’t tell him off; J.K. Simmons is a deadpan wonder as the factory head who has too much contempt to learn anyone’s name; Ben Affleck steals every scene he’s in as a druggie bartender; and Bateman, playing a man as flawed as he is likable, finds a lot of truth by not trying too hard. Maui Time Weekly, Barry Wurst II