Tag Archives: jason bateman

Extract – Review

20 May

Mike Judge is one of the best when it comes to comedy. It’s hard to deny the impact he’s made on the genre and popular culture itself. From his television creations like Beavis and Butt-HeadKing of the Hill, and most recently Silicon Valley, to his commercial film hits like Office Space and Idiocracy, his talent is clearly visible. One of his movies that I don’t hear too much about is his companion piece to Office Space titled Extract. I’ve finally come around to seeing it, and I can sort of see why it’s not one that’s talked about too often. It certainly is funny enough and a comedy that will more than likely stay on my radar, but it does lack some of the sharpness and off the walls absurd satire of his other, more recognized work.

Joel Reynolds (Jason Bateman) seems to have it all. He is the founder and owner of the Reynolds Extract company, has a great house in a quiet neighborhood, and also is married to his beautiful wife, Suzie (Kristen Wiig). On the flip side, his company is also facing problems after an accident causes one of his employees (Clifton Collins, Jr.) to lose a very important part of himself, he is constantly aggravated by what may be the world’s worst neighbor (David Koechner), and his love life with his wife has become stagnant. Things become even more complicated when a mysterious drifter, Cindy (Mila Kunis), starts working at the factory and shows a major interest in Joel. Because of this and some horrible advice from his friend, Dean (Ben Affleck), Joel’s life becomes a series of lies, even great misfortunes, and a possible company ending lawsuit.

Extract has a story that’s all over the place. There’s problems with the factory and also Joel’s love life, then there’s Mila Kunis’ character who has a backstory and motivation all her own, and then there’s an impending lawsuit that becomes more of an issue towards the end. There’s so much going on that it’s hard to keep track of it all sometimes. This works both for and against the movie. On one hand, with all of these subplots working against each other, there are some areas of the movie that feel rushed and not worked to completion. One character is relegated to just one scene when he could’ve had a lot more screen time. On the other hand, it started to make me stressed, which should be a problem, but it helped me relate to Joel’s plight, especially when he starts to reach his boiling points.

Where the movie does sort of falter is in the overall point of it. When I watch something by Mike Judge, I expect to see some sort of satirical sharpness, especially when he says that this film is a companion piece to his super sharp Office Space. There’s a really fun comedy of errors to be found here, but the whole thing feels kind of hollow. Part of that can be due to what I was talking about before. There’s so many plots and subplots and side characters that don’t amount to much that the whole thing doesn’t feel fully realized. If Judge was going for this simple comedy of errors vibe, it pulled off, but if he was going for something more than it doesn’t quite reach that standard.

Where Extract does succeed, and where Judge continues to show his immense understandings, is the personification of the characters. Everyone in this movie is someone you have met or have no problem believing in. One of my favorite characters is an older woman at the factory who continuously harasses a new employee and who refuses to work because she believes she works harder than everyone else and gets nothing for it. I know I’ve met that person. This also has a really great cast. Bateman is always great as the deadpan character who explodes after being pushed too far. Ben Affleck is surprisingly hilarious as Dean and David Koechner as Nathan, Joel’s annoying neighbor, kills every scene he’s in.

Extract is definitely a minor entry into an otherwise outstanding body of work by Mike Judge. This is a funny film with a great cast and a premise that works really well, even if it does feel stretched a bit too thin. If more time was given to certain plot elements, this might have felt a little bit stronger, even without the sharp satirical edge I was expecting. This movie is good for some laughs, but don’t expect anything more than that.

Final Grade: B-

Horrible Bosses – Review

21 Aug

Everyone has to work. It’s a sad fact of life, but it’s something that every adult has to face on a  daily basis. Some jobs are better than others, but most jobs have that one boss, manager, or supervisor that really gets under your skin. In that way, Horrible Bosses is one of the most relatable comedies out there. With an all star cast and an excellent premise, you’d think that you really couldn’t go wrong… and you’d be right.

Horrible_Bosses

Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) are three friends who all have something in common. They each have good jobs that are made into a living hell by their bosses. David Harkin (Kevin Spacey) mentally abuses Nick to no end, Julia (Jennifer Aniston) sexually harasses the recently engaged Dale, and Bobby (Colin Farrell) is running Kurt’s place of employment into the dirt. Their drunken solution: to kill each other’s bosses. Knowing they can’t do this alone, the recruit “Motherfucker” Jones (Jamie Foxx) to be their murder consultant, and soon enough a plan involving triple homicide is underway.

I first saw this a year ago and thought it was a riot, and I was worried that it would lose some of its luster during a second viewing, but I was mistaken. It takes a lot for a comedy to impress me. I’m sick of seeing formulaic rehashes involving the same jokes, characters, and situations. Make no mistake, Horrible Bosses is not the most original comedy to ever be made, but the premise is so great and the chemistry between all of the characters is what really gives this movie the kick that it needs.

HORRIBLE BOSSES

 

I can’t talk about Horrible Bosses and not rave about the cast. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day are all funny on their own, but their chemistry and banter is, to me, what really makes the movie. You can tell that these actors enjoy working with each other and this makes their friendships believable. Kevin Spacey takes his role very seriously, and is great to watch, while Aniston and Farrell are almost unrecognizable as the other two hellish bosses. When I say this is perfect casting, this is perfect casting.

Now, the story really teeters on the line of dark comedy, but never really reaches it. As it is, I enjoy the comedy and laughed consistently throughout the movie, but it would have been interesting to see a darker story play out and question your laughter at times. This is murder we’re talking about after all. That being said, the movie does take some crazy turns that I like, but I wish it went a little farther than it did instead of playing it safe. One deleted scene that I saw featured a very graphic scene that was still really funny and I wish that it made it into the movie.

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In short, Horrible Bosses is one of the funnier movies that has been released in the past five years. In a time where comedies have become so formulaic and have touched on a lot of the same themes, it was refreshing to see one that strayed off the beaten path and relished in its originality and absurdity. Not all of this movie is fresh, but that really doesn’t kill the entire movie. I laughed all the way through thanks to the chemistry of the actors, the really great dialogue, and just the insanity of it all. I just wish that it took the idea a little further.

Paul – Review

27 Sep

In all my years of being a movie fanatic, I’ve never heard anyone say something bad about Simon Pegg’s and Nick Frost’s films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Whenever these two are in something, it’s pretty much a guaranteed success. Even though Paul a popular movie when it came out, I don’t really hear too much talk about this one. So, I’m here to break the ice and talk about what I think, because that’s just what I do.

Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two British science fiction enthusiasts who’ve come to America for the San Diego Comic-Con. After Comic-Con, their plan is to travel to all of the UFO hotspots in the west. They certainly get more than they bargained for when the happen upon a crude, yet innocent extraterrestrial Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). All Paul wants to do is get home, but that’s now what the government has in mind, especially Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) who is hot on their tail. Now on the run from the government and an overly-religious hick (thanks to the trio inadvertently becoming kidnappers), the chances of Paul getting home are becoming slimmer and slimmer.

The first thing I was worried about was that the character of Paul was going to get annoying quickly. I automatically assumed he was going to be crude the entire way through the movie, but he was actually a great character. So was everyone else. Pegg and Frost’s characters are relatable and very likable and the villains are cold and are still able to remain funny. There are a few “villains” that are really no threat at all, and they provide some of the biggest laughs of the movie.

And when I say laughs, I mean I was hysterical. These two never fail to make me laugh, and their writing is as quick as it’s always been, albeit a little more crude. To compare it to the last movie I reviewed, Your HighnessPaul seems like a children’s movie. There are some jokes that are juvenile, but it never goes overboard, and there’s a self-referential tone that stays throughout the entire movie. Speaking of self-referential, there are loads of jokes in this movie that are homages to science fiction classics of the past from Back to the Future to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and an excellent Star Wars reference that was very clever.

Something that really surprised me though was the clearly present anti-Christian agenda that really seemed to come out of nowhere. Personally, this didn’t really bother me. I thought it was pretty funny, but at the same time really got the point of views across. At times, I will concede, it did go a little overboard and sort of shoved the opinion down your throat. Subtlety is sometimes a lot better. I do know that a lot of people were offended by this, but you have to remember, it’s just a movie. People have differing ideas on different topics and they are allowed to express them.

 

For me, Paul was a very entertaining movie that kept me laughing from beginning to end, and I’d even go so far as to say that I liked it better than Hot Fuzz. I’m sure a lot of people disagree, but go right ahead. The characters were very likable and the humor was consistently strong and loaded with in jokes and references that were always fun to pick out and appreciate. If you’re looking for a good R-rated comedy, look no further than Paul.