Extract [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (14th January 2010).
The Film

Mike Judge needs a new agent, someone like Ari Gold from "Entourage" (2004-Present), or perhaps Ari Emanuel, the real-life agent in which Jeremy Piven's character is loosely based on. Judge has directed three feature films, all of which immensely funny, well written, include wonderfully quirky character, solid writing and yet no one has seen them... "Office Space" (1999) was largely ignored by Fox and let to flounder without any studio support, only to become a cult hit on video and DVD, same happened again with "Idiocracy" (2006), also with Fox... now Miramax has dropped the ball with "Extract" a film that had a blink and you'll miss it run in theaters only to finally be released on home video. Mike Judge simply does not get enough credit... "Extract" is one funny film... probably only second to "The Hangover" (2009). But in saying that it's still far and away from being an instant classic. Emanuel needs to work his mojo on Judge so that studios stop treating his films like third rate straight-to-video releases.

"Extract" tells the story of Joel (Jason Bateman) the owner of an extract factory, his life is rather complicated. His wife won't have sex with him, his workers are occasionally dysfunctional, one of his employees lost a testicle in a recent accident and there's a con-woman at work making things very difficult for Joel. He wants to sell his business, but a potential lawsuit holds things back, added to this he's fallen for new intern, Cindy (Mila Kunis) who happens to be the con-woman mentioned before... Joel wants to have an affair with Cindy but feels guilty, so he hires a gigolo to seduce his wife... and as you expect that doesn't turn out well for Joel... but not in the ways you think. There's a lot going on here in "Extract" but it all fits nicely within its 92 minutes, Judge populates the film with some pretty unique and interesting characters and some sharp humor that keeps a perpetual smile on your face, and manages to evoke laughter several times over.

"Extract" takes a simple story and populates it with a series of interesting character moments, with the film's lead, Joel, having to juggle these situations as part of his everyday life. This may seem confusing at first as the film tends to jump around a bit, but once you've gotten the gist it's pretty easy to let the film's scenes do the narrative driving, opening up for some great set-ups. The relationship between Joel and bartender Dean (Ben Affleck) are pure gold, the encounters with gigolo Brad (Dustin Milligan) are hilarious, his performance is pitch perfect, he plays drop dead dumb brilliantly. Joel's further encounters with annoying neighbor Nathan (David Koechner) also make for some rather memorable moments in scenes that probably made me laugh the most, Koechner is such a pro at playing characters that are just plain annoying and never overstays his welcome. Fans of "Office Space" will see some similarities in these characters and some of the set-ups around the factory, which does come across as a bit lazy but can be forgiven.

What can be considered the film's weakness, it's that the film doesn't really go anywhere... and there's nothing new here that we haven't already seen in many other comedies before, Judge touches on the usual cliches; a marriage that's lost its luster, a factory of workers that features all the usual stereotypes, a manager that doesn't know the names of his employees... etc. some jokes don't quite hit the mark, and some characters are largely forgettable, but overall I had a good time at the Reynold's Extract factory.

Video

Presented in the film'a original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 in high-definition 1080p 24/fps and mastered in AVC MPEG-4 compression. The film's overall look is fairly plain and two-dimensional, it's about what you'd expect from a mid-budget comedy. Judge isn't one to push his cinematographer's to create interestingly lit shots, dynamic framing or visuals. The film looks like it was hot for television, but in saying that the image is crisp, clean and nicely detailed. Skin tones appear natural, colors are nicely saturated and balanced with deep blacks. For a recent film the image is also clean, as expected, no real problems in terms of compression issues or edge-enhancement. It's suitable, and that's about what I expected.

Audio

Much like the visuals the audio is fairly rudimentary, with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track mixed at 48kHz/24-bit and French Dolby Digital 5.1 dub option as well. The DTS-HD track may as well have been a standard-def 5.1 number. The film's dialogue is about all that benefits from this mix, which is at time front heavy but is clear and distortion free. Some musical cues and occasional ambient noise fills up the surround channels. There isn't a lot of activity happening here, but there doesn't need to be either, the track is perfectly suited for this type of film.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Extras

Miramax has released the film with only a small collection of extras that include a short featurette, a single deleted scene, extended scenes and bonus trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

First up is "Mike Judgeís Secret Recipe" featurette which runs for 10 minutes 48 seconds, this EPK clip takes a look at shooting in a real factory as the cast comment on being in a real factory environment, what it's like working with Mike Judge as well as casting and on the comedic elements. There's some good behind-the-scenes material and interviews and a look at the inspiration for characters, dialogue and comedy but doesn't go further than the usual fluff.

Extended scenes are next presented in a reel that runs for 4 minutes 29 seconds, scenes included here are addition scenes with Joel and Dean, Dean's explanation of various drugs that Joel needs to take, and extended office scene of Dean telling Joel that he can have any woman in the factory, an extended clip featuring Brad wanting referrals for his services, more of Dean giving Joel advice and Dean passing the blame for Joel doing drugs.

There is a single deleted scene which runs for 40 seconds, in this scene Joel and Dean talk on the phone, Dean apologizes about what happened with Willie beating him up.

The disc's extras are rounded off with a collection of bonus trailers for:

- "Disney Blu-ray" which runs for 1 minute 2 seconds.
- "When in Rome" which runs for 2 minutes 33 seconds.
- "Surrogates" which runs for 1 minute 22 seconds.
- "The Boys are Back" which runs for 1 minute 22 seconds.

Packaging

This disc is packaged in a Blu-ray case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Film: B- Video: B Audio: B Extras: C- Overall: B-

 


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