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Film / Extract

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It's about a small business owner. And a missing testicle.

Extract is a comedy film released in 2009, written and directed by Mike Judge of Beavis And Butthead, King of the Hill and Office Space fame. It stars Jason Bateman as Joel Reynolds, the owner of a vanilla extract factory and nice guy everyman. Except things haven't been very nice for Joel lately. His frustrations are mounting, partially the result of a handful of incompetent workers at his factory, but mostly because of his marriage having fallen into a sexual rut.

One day, an industrial accident leads to the injury of Step, an employee who longs to be promoted to floor manager: specifically, he ends up losing a testicle. When the news of the incident hits the papers, it attracts Cindy, a young, attractive con-artist, played by Mila Kunis. To track down Step, she gets herself hired at Reynolds Extract, then arranges to meet and subsequently flirt with Joel while searching for information on Step. She succeeds, arranges a chance meeting with Step, and starts dating him in order to manipulate him into suing the company for more money.

Meanwhile, Joel keeps thinking about how Cindy was flirting with him. He discusses this with his old friend Dean, a perpetually drugged-out bartender played by Ben Affleck. Dean encourages him to initiate an affair with Cindy, but Joel is certain he'll feel guilty if he does. After giving Joel a mystery pill, Dean comes up with the crazy idea for Joel to hire a gigolo to have sex with his wife, so he won't feel guilty about having sex with Cindy. Joel, heavily intoxicated, plays along. As expected, the plan does not take place quite as expected.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ambulance Chaser: Joe Adler, played appropriately by rock frontman Gene Simmons. He knows why a man with one testicle is the perfect client.
  • Brainless Beauty: Brad. The guy's level of stupidity is astonishing, but he is good looking, well-built, and above all, an amazing "pool cleaner".
  • Character Overlap: Joe Adler had previously appeared in an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head
  • Creator Cameo: Mike Judge appears as one of the men on the factory floor. He and Rory are the voices of the mob when the workers start talking about a strike.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Inverted and played straight. Dean, a bartender and Joel's best friend, is portrayed as constantly under the influence, and advocates Xanax for everything. Dean himself never seems to be negatively impacted by his drug use. Joel, on the other hand, gets himself into trouble every time Dean talks him into taking something, whether it be one of Dean's pills or a few hits off a six-foot bong.
  • Genre Mashup: Rory's band, God's Cock, which he describes as "Melodic Grindcore" (as opposed to Fight Head, which is more of a thrash skate-punk type thing).
  • The Ghost: Nathan's wife, Leslie, is never seen.
  • Gold Digger: Cindy. This is her primary role in the movie, although she has a few other cons that are shown before she is hired at Reynolds Extract.
  • Gossipy Hens: Two of the women on the assembly line at Reynolds Extract spend most of their time talking about how nobody else is doing their jobs except them. Early in the movie, one of them decides she won't do her job because "nobody else" is doing theirs; this is what sets off the chain reaction leading to Step's loss of part of his manhood.
    • These characters also become a case of a Karma Houdini as they never get called out on it and get to keep their jobs. This is mainly because no one seems to be aware they're at fault, however, and it's implied at the end of the movie that their laziness and easy ride is about to come to an end once Step takes over as the factory foreman; pretty much the first thing he does is order them to stop lazing off and get back to work.
  • Groin Attack: Pretty much the entire plot is kicked off by Step Wilkenson, the floor manager, losing a testicle.
  • Humble Goal: After all the trouble in the movie, Joel ends up sitting Step down and asking him what he wants. Step reveals that all he really wants is a promotion he feels he's been long overdue for, something Joel is happy to provide.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Dean gives Joel what he thinks is a Xanax, because it will make him "feel good." Later, Dean realizes it wasn't Xanax, believing it might be "Special K" (a horse tranquilizer, probably ketamine). It's something of an Idiot Ball in pill form, as this is the main reason Dean is able to talk Joel into hiring a gigolo for his wife.
  • Karma Houdini: The two assembly line workers that cause the accident that sets up the plot. Unless you count Step finally getting them to do their jobs karma.
  • Large Ham: Gene Simmons is having the time of his life as Joe Adler.
  • Mythology Gag: One scene showed a TV commercial of a personal injury lawyer named Joe Adler. Later in the movie, Step hired him and then Joel has a meeting with him.
  • The Nicknamer: Brian, the manager at Reynolds Extract, has a habit of calling every employee by a nickname. The only problem is his nickname for everyone is "Dinkus," with the possible exception of "Boy Genius" (aka "Forklift Dinkus"). He does get Cindy's name right, but there's a reason for that.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Joe Adler is a parody of Texas attorney, Jim S. Adler.
  • Oblivious to Hints: Joel and Suzie's neighbor, Nathan, falls squarely under this trope. It's so bad that when Suzie manages to hammer the point home, he dies from the shock.
  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: A variation of this trope takes place between Suzie and Brad, the "pool cleaner". There's even a flashback scene shot with a soft-focus lens, complete with deliberately cheesy acting and suggestive dialog.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Suzie delivers a long pent-up verbal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Nathan towards the end of the movie that ends up killing him.
  • The Scapegoat: Poor Hector. He's repeatedly blamed for stealing wallets and purses around the factory. Joel knows better, though even when Joel announces that Hector is innocent and Cindy is guilty, the Gossipy Hens still don't believe him.
  • Sexless Marriage: Joel and Suzie. If he doesn't get home by 8:00, she puts on the sweatpants—and that's the end of it. Joel laments that he's afraid they're becoming a "brother and sister couple."
  • Share the Male Pain: Some of the male characters engage in thoughtful, disturbed reflection while talking about Step's industrial accident.
    Joel: Kind of makes you think, doesn't it, how fragile we all are? Especially our balls, they're just hangin' there, little sack, any minute could just be cut off forever.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Judge's earlier Office Space; both films centre around a put-upon guy trapped in an unsatisfying working and personal life who has to put up with a bunch of idiots, except in rather than the 'sympathetic employee dealing with Jerkass bosses' dynamic in the earlier movie, this one's about a sympathetic boss who has to put up with a bunch of Jerkass employees.
  • The Stoner: Averted hardcore with Dean's pot dealer, who instead of being the giggly, long-haired hippie is instead a musclebound, intimidating thug who insists that you smoke out of the bong exactly the way he tells you to.
  • Zany Scheme: Dean's plan for Joel to hire a gigolo for his wife was not a good idea. To say the least.