There are at least two ways of looking — and laughing — at Mike Judge’s new workplace comedy “Extract”: In one view, this is a sequel-in-spirit to 1999’s “Office Space,” more aggrieved worker bees, more hapless managers making their lives miserable, simply a fresh batch of the same special sauce you’ve craved for a decade; in another, “Extract” is the labor of a more mature writer/director, one who no longer toils as an underdog but rather is a comedy giant with cult movies and hit TV shows on his resume and whose creative center of gravity has shifted into new territory.
And then there’s Judge’s own take — his confession of the true origins of the film, which he ticked off for MTV News during a recent interview that we’re now presenting as part of our week-long exclusive preview of the fall’s hottest films.
“I thought about the type of guy who hires a gigolo to get his wife to cheat on him so he won’t feel guilty [if he cheats],” Judge explained. “And how super-hot girls live by a different set of rules than the rest of us, and what they could get away with if they really wanted to.”
Did we say “more mature”?
The guy in question is factory owner Joel (Jason Bateman), who’s stuck in a sex-free marriage and falls for temp worker and Judge-approved superhottie Cindy (Mila Kunis). The boss isn’t the only one who has his eye on Cindy. Both Joel’s bartender buddy Dean (Ben Affleck) — “Entrepreneur/ spiritualist/ healer” is how he introduces himself — and factory employee Step (Clifton Collins Jr.), after a grim, groin-centric workplace injury, at one point fall under her sway. And as we learn, Cindy has suspect motives and a colorful past.
“She’s misunderstood,” Kunis told MTV News, before correcting the record with a laugh. “No, she’s crazy. She’s absolutely crazy.”
There were crazies in “Office Space” too, but where that film centered on — and sympathized with — the humble employee’s data-entry woes and cog-in-the-system disregard, Judge wrote “Extract” (in theaters September 4) after the experience of managing a staff of almost 100 during his MTV days on “Beavis and Butt-head.”
“[Extract] is the bosses’ point of view,” he explained. “I think I suddenly became more sympathetic to all these bosses I’ve had. I wanted to write something sympathetic to the guy who had to run the place.”
That, and to weave male prostitutes, shady hotties and reels’ worth of awkward workplace interactions into his movie. A decade might have passed, but Mike Judge will always be Mike Judge. Even the film’s stars can’t help but make the connection to “Office Space.”
“If you are a fan of his, this is a film that delivers to what it is that he does the best,” Bateman told MTV News. “His base will be happy. I can say that as a member of his fanbase. It’s got that subtle, lo-fi character comedy that doesn’t beg and plead for laughter. It respects the intelligence of the audience. No one gets hit in the face with a pie.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Extract.”
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